32 countries express ‘deep concerns’ over PH drug war, call for Callamard visit
Thirty-two countries attending the 35th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council said they have “deep concerns” over the summary killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.
They also called on the Philippines to accept a visit from UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
The statement was read by Högni S. Kristjánsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland, on behalf of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
“We wish to express our deep concerns over the high number of killings associated with the so-called ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines,” the statement read.
The countries said they are “alarmed that over 7000 people have reportedly been killed since the anti-drug campaign was launched last July, many in circumstances, which remain, unexplained.”
They also expressed concern at the alleged lack of investigation or accountability for the killings, which they said is “contrary to basic democratic safeguards and the rule of law.”
“While understanding the negative implications of drug addiction and its consequences in the Philippines, any efforts to respond to the challenge of illicit drugs must be carried out in full compliance with due process and international human rights law,” they said. “We call upon the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring these killings to an end and to ensure prompt, independent and credible investigations into all violent deaths.”
“We share the concerns of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding harassment, intimidation, threats and killings of human rights defenders in the Philippines and are dismayed at public statements which threaten or appear to support the murder of journalists, human rights defenders or other members of civil society,” the statement said.
The 32 nations called on the Philippine government to “take immediate steps to create and maintain in law and in practice a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.”
Duterte’s rape comment
“We further stress that sexual violence can never be tolerated and call on the Government to strongly condemn the use of sexual violence in conflict,” they said, possibly referring to Duterte’s controversial rape comment.
Special rapporteur, UPR
The countries said that the Philippines, as a member of the HRC, should uphold and promote the protection of human rights and cooperate with the council and its mechanisms.
“In this regard, we urge the Philippines to accept a visit from the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, without preconditions or limitations,” they said.
“We further urge and look forward to a positive response by the Philippines regarding recommendations received during its recent UPR (Universal Periodic Review), in particular those relating to rule of law and the issue of unexplained violent deaths,” they said.
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