UN body commends PH’s progress on human rights records—AFP officer
MANILA, Philippines—The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commended the Philippines for progress in the country’s human rights records, an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) human rights officer said Tuesday, despite continued violations as claimed by activist groups.
“All 64 [member states] commended the Philippines on its efforts … on all aspects of human rights,” Colonel Domingo Tutaan, Chief of the Human Rights Office, told reporters Tuesday after coming back from the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland.
“[Philippines] has been very active in transforming its international human rights obligations into national and local legislations, policies and action plans. Appropriate institutional setup and a vibrant civil society that can effectively advocate and monitor human rights on the ground,” Tutaan said quoting the manifestation of representatives from Thailand and Japan.
Several other countries like South Korea, Timor Leste, United Kingdom, Australia, and Hungary was quoted by Tutaan as saying they welcomed “the decreasing trend in the number of Extra-Judicial Killings.”
The representative of the United States had also commended the Philippines for making the courts of justice more accessible to underprivileged groups, Tutaan said.
A group of Filipino activists and international Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), known as the Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch, however criticized the Philippines for its “dismal compliance to international human rights instruments.”
It said in a statement released after the UNHRC review that the Philippine’s report “failed to mention that state authorities have yet to arrest several notorious human rights violators such as Maj. General Jovito Palparan, while there is much gloating on the enactment of few local legislation and ratifications of some international instruments.”
“Palparan’s continued evasion of arrest and mockery of justice exemplifies the prevalent climate of impunity. This is probably the reason why the [Philippines] failed to mention this important fact — to gloss over the non-existence of justice for victims of human rights violations in the country and the continuing spate of rights abuses,” Karapatan spokesperson Cristina Palabay said in the Philippine UPR Watch’s statement.
Tutaan said that the UNHRC “recognized that there are things that have been undertaken as far as [impunity] was concerned. We remain very transparent and forthright in accepting these recommendations.”
Tutaan was part of the UNHRC delegation headed by Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in Geneva, Switzerland last May 29.
The UNHRC made 88 recommendations for the Philippines’ to improve its human rights record. Tutaan said that 53 were accepted while the 35 other recommendations were brought back to the country for further consultations with other agencies of government.