CHR: PH to suffer repercussions if it ignores UN on drug slays
MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has warned of “repercussions” to the country’s international relations if the government does not address the concerns raised by 95 nations about the anti-drugs campaign at the recent United Nations Human Rights Council review.
CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said that as a founding member of the UN agency, the Philippines could lose its credibility if it would not uphold international human rights conventions it had signed.
“It boils down to our credibility. We have to show that we are a responsible state party to our international conventions. The repercussions are real when we talk about the reputation and credibility of the country,” Dumpit stressed.
“Credibility goes a long way in terms of trade relations, bilateral relations and even multilateral relations. When we talk about credibility, we talk about security in our country; trade will be affected, tourism will be affected, business will also be affected,” she continued.
CHR has urged the Duterte administration to address the recommendations aired by delegates of 95 nations against drugs-related extrajudicial killings, revival of the death penalty and the plan to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility for children during the UN rights body’s latest universal periodic review (UPR) held in Geneva, Switzerland last May 8.
Out of the 47 members of the UN body, 45 nations urged the government to investigate the extrajudicial killings and hold accountable those responsible, as well as to drop plans to reimpose the death penalty in line with the anti-drugs campaign.
“Come July, the government must respond whether they would accept, reject or subject to further study some recommendations,” Dumpit pointed out.
In September, the rights council will officially adopt the working group report on the Philippines’ human rights situation, according to Dumpit.
“That is the time that civil society groups including the Commission on Human Rights, will have time to speak and comment about the report,” Dumpit said.
The government, meanwhile, is expected to respond to the report prepared by the working group. During the May 8 review session in Geneva, the official delegation led by former senator and now Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano played down reports on the surge in killings of suspected drug users and pushers.
Dumpit reminded the government that it should answer before the international community about concerns on human rights.
“We are accountable, especially the government, because they are in charge of implementing the laws and policies of the land,” she said.
The UN body’s universal periodic review discusses the human rights situation of all 193 UN member states. The review is done every four years; the last reviews were done in 2008 and 2012.
Dumpit expressed hope that the international concern raised before the UN would prompt the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies to work with the CHR to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in the so-called “war on drugs.”
Latest PNP data said 2,949 drug suspects have been killed in police operations since President Duterte assumed office on June 30 last year until March this year.
Human rights watchdogs have claimed at least 7,000 people, mostly poor urban residents, have been killed in the anti-narcotics campaign since June 30. SFM
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