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Karapatan asks UN to probe ‘spiraling’ human-rights cases in PH

/ 01:36 PM June 25, 2019
Karapatan asks UN to probe 'spiraling' human rights cases in PH

This photo taken on March 7, 2017, shows the dead body of Valien Mendoza, a suspected drug dealer, gunned down by unidentified assailants in Manila. AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

MANILA, Philippines — A rights group has called on the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (UNHCR) to heed the appeal for an independent investigation into what they called a “spiraling” human rights situation in the Philippines.

“We call on the Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to heed the appeal of the UN special rapporteurs and that of the victims of human rights violations and their relatives in the Philippines for an independent investigation into the spiraling human rights situation in the country,” Karapatan said in a statement on Tuesday.

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“Such international human rights mechanisms are available venues for redress and accountability for the victims, and any rejection of such measures can only mean an outright disregard of human rights principles,” the group added.

This comes after UN human rights experts called on the UNHCR earlier this month to conduct an “independent investigation” of what the special rapporteurs said were “unlawful” deaths under the government’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs syndicate.

The group also called for a similar investigation into attacks against human rights defenders in the Philippines believed perpetrated by state forces.

READ: Rare joint statement of UN rapporteurs calls for probe of PH killings 

Karapatan, likewise, welcomed the recent statement of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNHCHR) Michelle Bachelet highlighting the “extraordinarily high number of deaths – and persistent reports of extrajudicial killings – in the context of campaigns against drug use.”

READ: UNCHR says PH drug war’s death toll ‘extraordinarily high’ 

Police figures showed that 6,600 persons were killed under President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war campaign from July 2016 to May 2019.

READ: 6,600 killed in war vs drugs from July 2016 to May 2019 — PNP

But data cited by the Human Rights Watch claims that the figures from the UNHCHR showed that an estimated 27,000 people have been killed as of March 2019 for involvement in the illegal drug trade.

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However, Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac dismissed the said report as “bloated” and “not consistent with the truth.”

“As we have explained, the varying numbers reported to UNHCHR by the special rapporteurs and its other sources were not consistent with the truth,” Banac said in a statement.

READ: PNP hits UN’s ‘bloated’ number on drug-related killings in PH 

“Their bloated figures don’t add up and cannot support any further need of the UN body to see the true and accurate picture of the Philippines’ lonely crusade against the global problem of illegal drugs,” he further said. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)

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