UN scrutiny on state of PH rights a ‘ray of hope’ amid ‘rampant EJKs’ – groups
MANILA, Philippines — Several groups have lauded the action of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which voted to adopt the resolution calling on the body to look into the human rights situation, including drug war killings, in the Philippines.
Atty. Edre Olalia, President of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and member of the Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch said the adoption of Iceland’s resolution gives a “ray of hope” that the “rampant extrajudicial killings” in the country will stop sooner than later.
“We are pleased that the Iceland-led UN Human Rights Council Resolution passed against all the odds and the orchestrated efforts by our government to frustrate or defeat such salutary initiative. It is an initial benchmark victory of sorts in the long and arduous search for justice and brings a ray of hope that sooner or later the rampant extrajuducial killings will stop and that impunity will eventually cease to reign,” Olalia said in a statement.
“But the hard and perilous work still lies ahead to document fully and freely these killings and the myriad of rights violations. Vigilance we must hold on to. The Duterte government must not only toe the line of civility and humanity but need to rectify a lot of wrongs. And that accountability must be exacted in time,” he added.
An issue of accountability, not sovereignty
Human rights group Karapatan, meanwhile, said the resolution was “long overdue” but lauded UNHRC’s move as “a significant step towards justice accountability.”
“Karapatan welcomes the UNHRC’s decision to pass this long-overdue resolution. This comes at a most pressing and opportune time as the Duterte government is set to report on its ‘achievements’ after 3 years in office. This is a significant step towards accountability and we applaud the UNHRC’s decision to not remain complicit amid the rights violations being perpetrated in the Philippines,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
Palabay added that the resolution would initiate a “close monitoring” of the human rights situation in the country, stressing that the resolution was not an issue of sovereignty, but of accountability.
“This resolution will initiate the start of close monitoring of the rights situation in the country. Other efforts domestically, regionally and internationally will likewise move forward, the aggregate of which will expectedly bring out the changes in policy and in leadership that prioritize human and people’s rights,” Palabay noted.
“We reiterate that this is not an issue of sovereignty, but of accountability. The Philippines is a signatory to binding human rights treaties that allow for such mechanisms of investigation and accountability. Duty-bearers who act contrary to their mandate of upholding human rights should expect to be made accountable,” Palabay added.
The resolution was adopted during the 41st session of the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland after 18 of its 47 members voted in favor of the resolution. /kga
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