UN expert asks Duterte admin: Stop maligning human rights advocates
MANILA, Philippines — A United Nations (UN) special rapporteur has asked the Duterte administration to immediately stop “public stigmatization” of human rights advocates and instead “publicly recognize” the importance of their work.
Michel Forst, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said in his recent World Report that the State must create “protection mechanisms” to ensure the safety of human rights defenders.
“The rapporteur urges the government to cease immediately the public stigmatization of human rights defenders, which can incite perpetrators to act against them, and instead to publicly recognize the legitimacy and importance of their work,” he noted.
“The State should develop protection mechanisms that protect and support human rights defenders,” he added.
In his report, Forst stated the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war created “a climate of insecurity and impunity” that affected human rights advocates.
He also cited Duterte’s attack against human rights defenders, labelling them as “anti-nation, protectors of drug lords, communists and terrorists.”
Forst further called on the Duterte administration to review or amend laws that restrict “the right to freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, and association” as well as carry out investigation on human rights violations in the Philippines.
“The government must reaffirm its commitment to the rule of law and ensure that human rights violations are properly investigated, including those allegedly committed by state actors, to make the perpetrators accountable and mitigate the culture of impunity,” he said. /kga
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