European solons concerned over EJKs
After concluding a three-day visit, a European Parliament (EP) delegation “strongly” urged the Duterte administration to address “the recent deterioration of the human rights situation” in the country.
Four legislators from the EP subcommittee on human rights called on the government to allow an independent probe of questionable drug-related arrests and to guarantee a fair trial for Sen. Leila de Lima, who is detained on drug-trafficking charges.
During their stay from July 18 to 20, the delegation met with senior government officials and legislators as well as rights advocates led by the Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The EP delegates also visited De Lima at the detention center of the Philippine National Police headquarters, as well as a government drug rehabilitation center and a center for juvenile offenders.
A statement issued on Friday said the delegation “in frank and constructive discussions expressed its concern about the high number of extrajudicial killings in the context of the war against drugs and the possible extension of martial law.”
‘Put an end to impunity’
“The delegation strongly encouraged the government to identify cases of drug-related arrests where they could put in place an independent investigation mechanism and to include this issue in the national monitoring mechanism in order to put an end to impunity,” the statement said.
It also expressed “strong concern” over the possible lowering of the age of criminal responsibility for children from 15 to 9 years old, and the possible restoration of the death penalty.
The European lawmakers called on the government to “guarantee a fair trial to (De Lima) and let her fulfill a senator’s duties including voting in the Senate.”
“The objective of our mission is to gather information, to exchange views on issues of mutual interest and to get a real picture and a better understanding of the situation in the Philippines as well as to raise our concerns,” said delegation chair Soraya Post.
The other members of the delegation were Ádám Kósa, Josef Weidenholzer and Rikke Karlsson.
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