UN nod to Iceland-led resolution vs PH killings a ‘sign of victory’ for victims
MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) recent adoption of a resolution is a “victory” for those who have exposed the “deteriorating” human-rights situation in the Philippines, a UN special rapporteur said.
“This is a victory for all those who have been reporting for the last three years on the deteriorating situation in the country; this is a message to the victims that they have been heard. Finally, now we need actions,” Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement on Friday.
This after the UNHRC voted in favor of adopting an Iceland-initiated resolution that would mandate the rights body to look into the human-rights situation in the Philippines.
The draft resolution, co-sponsored by more than two dozen states, also formally requested that High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet prepare a comprehensive report on the human-rights situation in the Philippines and present it at the council’s 44th session to be followed by an “enhanced interactive dialogue.”
It also called on the Philippine government to “take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances” and to conduct “impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including due process and the rule of law.”
“We need an end to the war on drugs. We need a human rights approach to fighting crime,” Callamard went on.
“We need protection for defenders, indigenous, land and environmental activists. We need investigation into all the killings. We need accountability,” she further said.
Callamard has repeatedly earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte over her critical stand on the latter’s intensified drug war.
In a speech before Filipinos during a trip to Vietnam in 2017, Duterte threatened to “slap her in front of you” because Callamard was “f**king me and I do not want it.”
In June, Callamard and other fellow advocates in human rights performing investigative tasks for the UN have asked the international body to conduct an “independent investigation” of what they said were “unlawful” deaths during the government’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs.
The special rapporteurs also called for a similar investigation of attacks on human-rights defenders in the Philippines believed perpetrated by state forces. /jpv
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