Nothing to hide? Cooperate with UN probe, CHR tells gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called on the Philippine government Friday to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in its conduct of a “comprehensive” review of the human rights situation in the country to show that “it has nothing to hide.”
On Thursday night, the 47-member UNHRC adopted an Iceland-led resolution which also asked the Philippine government to cooperate with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who would prepare a “comprehensive written report” on the Philippines.
The resolution backed by 18 nations also asked the Philippine government to “(prevent) and (refrain) from all acts of intimidation or retaliation” against human rights defenders. Fourteen countries voted against the probe, while 15 abstained.
In a statement, the CHR stressed that rather than maintaining “acrimony and the hurling of threats of possible consequences,” the Philippine government “must open spaces for dialogue with other nations” to “show that it has nothing to hide and is willing to adhere to the global standards expected of a member of the UNHRC.”
“It must show both the international community and our own people that it is willing and able to hold perpetrators to account, to protect all human rights defenders, to stop the killings, and to end impunity,” added the independent institution mandated by the Constitution to monitor State compliance with all human rights norms and standards.
The Commission also said it welcomes the resolution “especially in the face of the rising death count allegedly linked to the government’s own campaign against illegal drugs.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier warned that “consequences will be far-reaching” for nations who voted in favor of the resolution, which the Philippines, China, and other 12 countries have opposed.
“Actually no effect but for those who voted to insult us, the consequences will be far-reaching,” Locsin said over Twitter on Thursday.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he would review if he would allow the investigators into the country, but Locsin branded the resolution as “politically partisan and one-sided.” /muf
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