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Euro lawmakers score Duterte anew

MANILA, Philippines — Fifty members of the European Parliament signed a joint motion seeking a resolution on the situation in the Philippines, particularly the worsening state of human rights and media freedom in the country.

“The European Parliament expresses its deepest concern at the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under President Duterte,” the resolution said, adding that it is calling on the Duterte government to adopt and implement all the recommendations listed in the June 2020 report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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The 50 lawmakers, out of the European Parliament’s 705 members, came from all seven political groups that make up the European Parliament.

The motion urged the entire European Union (EU) and its member states to support a pending resolution at the ongoing 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent, international investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines since 2016.

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But Malacañang on Thursday downplayed the call of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and claimed that the government was not remiss in its duty to provide remedies for victims of human rights.

‘PH has laws, too’

At a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the country had “domestic institutions” such as the courts, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to promote accountability.

“As of now, all institutions, whether it be the DOJ, the courts, the CHR, and other remedies are available to those who claim to be victims of human rights violations. We are not in default of our obligation to provide victims with an adequate domestic remedy,” he said.

Roque added: “With all due respect to Madame Bachelet, as a former president of Chile she knows that we have domestic institutions to promote accountability. We will rely on these domestic institutions.”

In a speech during the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Bachelet expressed concern over human rights violations in the Philippines’ war on illegal drugs.

She said there was an “urgent need to revoke the policies that continue to result in killings and other human rights violations, to bring to justice the perpetrators, and to halt the use of rhetoric inciting violence against people who use or sell drugs.”

The European lawmakers, on the other hand, sought the passage of a resolution that would call on Philippine authorities to “step up efforts to tackle corruption effectively,” reminding the country that since 2014, the Philippines has been enjoying trade benefits under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

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TAGS: European Union, Human Rights, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, UN Commission on Human Right (UNCHR), UN Human Rights Council
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