Global rights group calls for an independent international investigation on PH situation

June 29, 2020

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) appeals to all member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to support the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the Philippines. The appeal was released on the eve of the Council’s 44th Regular Session to be held in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We urge the Council to adopt the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the harrowing violations committed by the Government of President Rodrigo Duterte. A vote to adopt the Report is a vote for justice in the Philippines,” says ICHRP Chairperson Peter Murphy.

The comprehensive UN document released last June 4 is based on official court and police records, interviews with victims, submissions from human rights organisations together with government input. It raised concerns on Duterte’s “harmful rhetoric” and “incendiary” language together with the Philippine government’s “heavy-handed focus” on the war on drugs and counter-insurgency which led to the alarming number of killings, arbitrary detentions and suppression of dissent.

The 44th UNHRC Regular Session will take place from the 30th of June to the 20th of July 2020. The agenda includes discussions on issues of racism, sexual orientation and gender identity, women, poverty, peaceful assembly, and a chanceto address the human rights situations in countries including the Philippines. 

“This is an opportunity to tackle the findings and recommendations of the UN Report and for the international community to address the Duterte government’s human rights abuses and its restrictions on Filipino human rights defenders,” Murphy added.

The global coalition underlined that given the track record of the Duterte administration, its obstruction of the investigation by the OHCHR, and its latest rejection of the Report’s recommendations, the Human Rights Council should take a stronger stance by creating a mechanism for an independent international investigation into thehuman rights crisis in the Philippines.

In a joint statement to be delivered in the Regular Session in Geneva, ICHRP together with the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, other global and Philippine churches appeal to UNHRC members states to call upon the Philippine Government to put an end to human rights violations, ensure justice to victims, and proper investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrators. “The counter-insurgency program must stop. Pending investigations by relevant UN Special Procedures must be allowed to proceed,” the joint statement reiterates.

A key component of the request is for the Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Philippines to oversee the independent international investigation.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines or ICHRP is a global network of organizations concerned for the human rights situation in the Philippines and committed to campaign for just and lasting peace in the country. #