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UN probe of EJKs to begin next year

/ 04:28 AM November 04, 2016

CEBU CITY—The United Nations envoy on summary executions is expected to begin an investigation into thousands of deaths linked to the government’s antidrugs war by early next year, while a European Union team is to arrive this month, an official said on Thursday.

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) head Jose Luis Martin Gascon said the

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UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitration Executions had already received the government’s invitation to investigate the anti-drugs war, which has already left at least 4,700 people dead as of last month.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations were working to finalize the dates, but Gascon said the probe would officially start by the first quarter of 2017.

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After blasting the United Nations, European Union as well as the United States for raising concerns on his war on drugs, President Duterte eventually relented and invited them over to investigate, on the condition they should also be prepared to answer queries he would raise.

The DFA however earlier said the rights representatives would likely be barred from investigating in slum areas which are considered dangerous.

A team from the European Union is meanwhile due in the Philippines later this month to meet with government leaders, businessmen and economic managers to evaluate the country’s human rights, environmental and labor conditions, Gascon said.

The European Union is expected to find out whether or not Manila has continued its commitment to human rights and other policies as mandated in 27 international agreements entered into by the Philippines. Of these agreements, 10 involved human right treaties.

If the European Union determines that the country has relaxed its commitment to human rights, Gascon said it could affect the General System of Preference Plus (GSP Plus) mechanism which grants the Philippines access to the European market.

“If this team assesses that there is a backsliding or fall back in our commitment to human rights, then the GSP Plus mechanism maybe in jeopardy,” Gascon said.

“Since we joined in 2014, there have been significant impact in terms of our exporters and we could want this to continue,” he said.

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Gascon was in Cebu to speak before a human rights gathering attended by delegates from from Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

In a manifesto, the rights advocates said the government’s campaign “has made the country more unsafe with innocent people killed, drug lords evading arrest, and murder cases rising.”

“We call on the Philippine government to condemn the murder spree, immediately solve the vigilante killings, act on the failed police operations, and serve justice to the families of the murder victims,” they said.

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TAGS: antidrugs war, Commission on Human Rights, European Union team, extrajudicial killings, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, summary executions
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