“If the Duterte government has nothing to hide, it should be open and receptive to these forms of investigations, instead of being the foremost impediment to justice and accountability.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Human rights group Karapatan dared the government to allow the United Nations to look into the human rights situation in the Philippines. This after 11 UN human rights experts expressed their deep concern on the state of human rights in the Philippines and asked the UN Human Rights Council to form an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines.
“If the Duterte government has nothing to hide, it should be open and receptive to these forms of investigations, instead of being the foremost impediment to justice and accountability,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in a statement welcoming the UN expert’s call for investigating rights violations in the Philippines.
President Duterte has not welcomed any international body to look into the reported rights violations in the country. Just recently, the Duterte government withdrew from the Rome Statute after families of the victims in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs submitted their cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“The government’s favorite line of defense when confronted with investigations is to bring up the concept of sovereignty on issues that involve accountability. This call is grounded on real reports that can be validated and ascertained, but were instead disregarded by the Philippine government,” Palabay reiterated.
In response, the Palace called the UN experts statement as “intellectually challenged” and “outrageous interference on the Philippines sovereignty.”
“We anticipate the desperate response from the government and its mouthpieces,” Palabay said.
“Duterte and his henchmen are not the victims, but are deliberate and conscious actors in the string of violations perpetrated against individuals and communities,” she added.
Meanwhile, Palabay said they support the call for the UN HRC to conduct an independent investigation in the country. She said such call of the UN experts is an apt and urgent response to the human rights crisis faced by the Filipinos today.
‘Human rights emergency’
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) also welcomed the UN experts statement saying that in three years of impunity under President Duterte, the “Philippines is now in a state of human rights emergency.”
“The grave abuses of human rights committed with impunity by Duterte’s military and police, as well as by state-attached paramilitary forces and death squads, must indeed be investigated, exposed and condemned. Duterte’s grave crimes and the Filipino people’s clamor for justice must be made known across the world,” the CPP said in a statement.
The CPP said that aside from the countless extrajudicial killings, the Duterte government has perpetrated hundreds of cases of political imprisonment, filing of trumped-up charges and legal harassment, threats, armed raids of entire communities, hamletting and occupation of rural villages, population control, food and economic blockade, and so.”
“Any investigation must subject to critical inquiry both Duterte’s drug war, as well as his counterinsurgency directive ‘to end local communist armed conflict’ and its various components including Mindanao martial law, Memorandum Order 30, Oplan Kapayapaan, Oplan Sauron and Oplan Kapanatagan,” the CPP said in a statement.
It added that the grave state of rights abuses in the country is a “direct result of Duterte’s official and public order for state forces to disregard human rights in carrying out his security directives.”
The statement released by the UN experts on June 7 expressed concern over the current state of human rights situation in the Philippines. It cited the killings of alleged drug users and peddlers under the government’s campaign against illegal drugs as well as the killings of human rights defenders in the Philippines.
The statement was signed by the UN Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the Chair of the Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice, UNSR on the Right to Food, UNSR on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, UNSR on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, UNSR on the Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, UNSR on the Right to Health, UNSR on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNSR on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, and the UNSR on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.