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Palace slams UN rights body’s ‘intrusion’

/ 05:20 AM December 22, 2018

“An intrusion of our sovereignty.”

This was how Malacañang denounced on Friday the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to refer the case of detained Sen. Leila de Lima to special rapporteurs probing alleged rights violations in the country.

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“To my mind, what they are doing is an intrusion of our sovereignty,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

Three special rapporteurs

The three UN special rapporteurs are set to examine evidence of alleged human rights violations of the Duterte administration.

Panelo also criticized the UNHRC for choosing to listen to the administration’s critics, without making its own investigation of the case of De Lima, a fierce critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“They’ve been saying that, and we’ve been saying, ‘The problem with you people is that you’re listening to the critics of this administraiton. You’re not investigating on your own,’” Panelo said.

The UN body’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention last week formally referred De Lima’s case to the rapporteurs after finding grounds that her rights as an elected senator and human rights defender were violated.

Freedom of opinion

De Lima’s case was assigned to David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Dubravka Simonovic, special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; and Diego Garcia-Sayan, special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

Kaye will look into the alleged violations committed against De Lima for her public statements regarding extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, while Simonovic will probe the supposed discrimination against De Lima due to her political opinion, her status as a human rights defender and as a woman.

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Garcia-Sayan is tasked with looking into violations of De Lima’s right to a fair trial amid the illegal drugs charges filed against her in a Muntinlupa City court.

But Malacañang insisted that due process was followed in De Lima’s case.

“There is a process in this country and we follow that process. They are there because probable cause was found. That’s why information was filed against this accused,” Panelo said.

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TAGS: Leila de Lima, rights violations, Salvador Panelo, UN Human Rights Counil, UN special rapporteurs, UNHRC
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