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Philippine UPR Watch calls for international support to Filipino people’s campaign against tyrannical rule of Duterte administration

Press Release

19 September 2017


References (Heads of Delegation):

Atty. Ephraim Cortez, Secretary General, National Union of Peoples Lawyers, (+63)9175465798

Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, Karapatan, (+63)9997721233


The Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch calls on the member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to express their support for the Filipino peoples’ campaign against President Rodrigo Duterte’s tyrannical rule.

In barely four months, after the UPR of the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council last May 2017, human and people’s rights violations have spiralled, with the drug war, counter-insurgency program and martial law in Mindanao, the group said. On September 22, 2017, the recommendations made to the Philippine government on its 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review will be adopted this coming 36th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 22 September 2017. “The Duterte regime has been totally disregarding these recommendations urging the State to protect and uphold international human rights obligations,” said Atty. Ephraim Cortez, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and  co-head of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation.

A total of 103 State parties forwarded at least 257 recommendations to the Philippine government during the 27th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. At least thirty-four (34) States raised concerns on the continuing extrajudicial killings in the country and reminded the Philippine government to ensure prosecution and accountability of perpetrators. Eight (8) States called for an end to extrajudicial killings in line with the Duterte administration’s campaign against crime and drugs.

“However, in May 2017, after the UPR on the Philippine government, the Duterte administration openly imposed martial law in Mindanao. This despite the fact that the factual basis can’t be substantiated even when the Philippine Supreme Court came up with resolution on the constitutionality of the imposition,” Cortez added.

“After more than four decades, the Filipino people will commemorate the imposition of dictator Marcos’s Martial law on September 21, 2017 with an ongoing martial law in Mindanao. This imposition of martial law in Mindanao has emboldened the Philippine state security forces to commit more human rights violations with impunity. President Rodrigo Duterte recently threatened to impose a nationwide martial law in the country. Duterte totally disregard the clamor of the Filipino people, including that of human rights defenders and social movements whom he sees as enemies of the State. Recently, he stepped up his rants against those who have condemned and called for the justice of the victims of extrajudicial killings. He sees these groups as a hindrance in his drug war and his all-out war,” said Roneo Clamor, deputy secretary general of Karapatan and co-head of the delegation.

“We stand with the victims of extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations. The stones would cry out even if the Duterte administration would want to silence them. We call on the international community, especially member States of the UN Human Rights Council, to continue and strengthen their support against tyrannical rule of the Duterte administration,” Clamor said.

The Philippine UPR Watch is composed of the 13-member delegation of rights defenders and sectoral representatives from peoples’ organizations, churches and institutions, some of whom have also been recently subjected to rights violations. They are as follows: Atty. Ephraim Cortez, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (co-head of the delegation); Roneo Clamor, Karapatan (co-head of the delegation); members:  Eufemia Cullamat and Amirah Lidasan, Sandugo; Sharon Cabusao, Gabriela; Mary Joan Guan, Center for Women’s Resources (CWR); Eule Bonganay, Childrens’ Rehabilitation Center (CRC); Johanna Dela Cruz and Maria Teofelina Morales (wife of Bishop Carlo Morales), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP); Beverly Longid, International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation – Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (IPMSDL-RMP); Antonio Flores, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP); and, Angie Gonzales and Doris Wilson, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).

Other member organizations of the UPR Watch are: Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), IBON Foundation, Initiatives Peace Mindanao (InPEACE Mindanao), KALUMARAN, Migrante International, Moro-Christian Peoples’ Alliance (MCPA), Ramento Project for Rights Defenders-Iglesia Filipina Independiente, SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns, KAWAGIB – Alliance for the Advancement of Moro Human Rights. ###

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