UN special rapporteur to arrive Jan. 23 | Global News

UN special rapporteur to arrive Jan. 23

Irene Khan —AFP

Irene Khan —AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Bangladeshi lawyer Irene Khan, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, is expected to visit the country from Jan. 23 to Feb. 2 upon the invitation of the government, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Saturday.

The DFA said in a statement that the visit will showcase the “flourishing democracy” in the country, as seen through the “vibrant media landscape and civic space.”


“This visit signifies the open, sustained and sincere cooperation of the Philippine government with bilateral and regional partners and the UN, on many fronts, where the country promotes its human rights-based development agenda and good governance as well as its contributions in strengthening global norms to uphold human rights and dignity,” the DFA said.


‘In good faith’

“The Philippines cooperates in good faith with international human rights mechanisms,” the agency said, adding that the visit had no connection with the drug war investigation being done by the International Criminal Court.

Khan will be the third UN special rapporteur to visit the country after Gambian jurist Mama Fatimah Singhateh in November 2022 and Australian-Tuvaluan environmentalist Ian Fry in November 2023.

Chilean physician Morris Tidball-Binz also visited the country in February 2023, but that was in his capacity as a forensic pathologist and not as UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Also on Saturday, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) said it arranged for Khan to meet with state institutions and government bodies of her choosing.

“The visit is a welcome opportunity to showcase the nation’s commitment to openness, transparency and its vibrant media community highlighted by everyone’s right to freely express their opinion,” PTFoMS Executive Director Paul Gutierrez said.

He added that the task force will also host a welcome dinner for Khan which, he hopes, will also be a platform for open dialogue and exchange of ideas.


At the same time, the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which has been condemned for Red-tagging and disrespecting the civil liberties of leftist groups and individuals, also welcomed Khan.

“With this visit, we aim to foster an environment where diverse viewpoints can coexist while upholding the principles of truth, respect for human rights, and ethical journalism,” said Ernesto Torres Jr., the task force’s executive director.

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TAGS: UN Special Rapporteur, United Nations

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