The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, campaigning for human rights and Filipino people’s rights, lauds the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution seeking investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines. We thank all governments who voted in favour of the Iceland-sponsored resolution. We warmly commend all rights advocates who have lobbied with governments to support this resolution.
At the same time, we strongly criticise the Philippine government for “rejecting” the said resolution claiming that “it was not universally adopted”. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines cannot simply reject the UNHRC resolution. The Philippines is a founding member of the Council and signatory to all the relevant United Nations Conventions on which the UNHRC bases its work.
That is why President Rodrigo Duterte should abide by the resolution and welcome the visit of UN Special Rapporteurs which will inform the subsequent reform of the High Commissioner Ms Michelle Bachelet. The government should respect and abide by internationally recognized bodies and mechanisms.
The resolution filed by Iceland was adopted at the UNHRC 41st regular session in Geneva, Switzerland on July 11, 2019.
The resolution “urges the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including those on due process and the rule of law.”
It also urges the Philippine government to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including by facilitating country visits and preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.
In 2018, UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ annual report to the UNHRC placed the Philippines on the list of states that intimidate and retaliate against human rights defenders.
We call on all member organizations and supporters of ICHRP to condemn the Philippine government’s rejection of the UNHRC resolution and to intensify pressure on it to cooperate fully with the resolution. ICHRP will re-double its calls to end human rights violations and impunity in the Philippines. We vow to initiate any and all actions and venues, including diplomatic initiatives, to see that the Philippine government abides by the UNHRC resolution.
Peter Murphy, Chairperson
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines