Hontiveros: Landing a seat in UNHRC not a lottery win
Senator Risa Hontiveros has slammed the current administration for treating the Philippines’ election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) like a lottery — or as something that the country has won by chance.
Hontiveros said that statements from government officials labeling the election as proof of the international community’s confidence with the administration are “grossly misleading and hypocritical.”
“First, it is grossly misleading. It exposes the government’s ignorance of the UN’s complex dynamic. Ano ito, lotto, nanalo tayo (What is this? Is it something that we won like lotto)?” she said in jest.
“The Duterte government cannot claim winning a seat on the UNHRC when all UN member-states agreed to take turns sitting on the council,” she added.
Hontiveros explained that the country did not win anything, since there were 18 candidates for 18 available seats on the council, “eliminating any form of competition and assuring all candidates of seats on the council regardless of their rights records.”
She also highlighted the move by some member-states to refrain from voting for the Philippines, even without the competition.
“And yet, despite the absence of any competition, 27 countries decided to withhold their votes from the Philippines,” the senator noted.
“Among the 193 countries in the UN General Assembly, 192 cast their votes. The Philippines got only 165, the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region,” she added.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has been marred by allegations of human rights violations due to “Oplan Tokhang,” the government’s war on illegal drugs. As of August 2018, there were 4,800 deaths reported due to the police’s anti-drug operations, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP) data.
Earlier, PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde asked critics to help the government instead of shaming the country, emphasizing that international communities seemed to have found no trace of human rights violations.
“‘Iyong ibang bansa wala silang nakikitang paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Siguro tayo, kung meron, might as well help the government instead of pinapahiya na lang natin iyong ating bansa in other countries (Other countries cannot find human rights violations in our operations. We might as well help the government instead of shaming our country),” the PNP chief said.
“Mas maganda pa sigurong magpasalamat and probably help the government na kung talagang meron silang nakikita (It may be advisable to thank the government and probably help if they can see any human rights violation),” he added. /ee
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