EU envoy ties PH trade perks to human rights compliance
Extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country must stop if the Philippines wants to continue enjoying its trade privileges with the European Union, an EU representative said, adding that the “very few convictions” made against the police for drug war killings “is just not good enough.”
In an interview with the Inquirer, EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore disclosed that the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) would soon have a “higher bar” with “greater scrutiny” for human rights standards that beneficiary countries must comply with.
READ: EU rights rep: ‘So few’ prosecutions for EJKs ‘worrying’, victims deserve justice
The Philippines is one of the three biggest state benefactors of the GSP+ with more than 6,000 exports like fruits, meats, automotive parts, and other local products given special incentives and zero tariffs. It is renewed yearly on the basis of the countries’ adherence to EU standards. Soon, the renewal of the GSP+ will be determined by the European Council and the European Parliament, both of which have been consistent opposing voices against former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
Gilmore sees two major “requirements” for the Philippines.
“The first will be that those [extrajudicial] killings [must] stop. I know that they [have] significantly reduced since the present administration took over, which is welcome, but it’s not eliminated. There are still people being killed.” Gilmore told the Inquirer.
He added that there must be a lot more improvement in the government’s effort to pursue legal accountability and that “three [convictions] out of six and a half thousand [killings] is just not good enough by any standard.”
During Gilmore’s three-day working visit in the country from March 28, he met with Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, the Philippine National Police Human Rights Affairs Office, and several EJK victims groups.
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