CHR to observe Duterte gov't report to UN Human Rights Council
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will send a team to observe the United Nations (UN) review on the human rights progress of the Philippines on Monday, May 8.
CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon confirmed this on Thursday, May 4, at the sidelines of the commission’s 30th anniversary event.
“Nandoon po kami physically para pakinggan ang report ng Philippine government (We will be there physically to listen to the report of the Philippine government),” he said.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR), conducted by the UN Human Rights Council, happens every 4 years. The review to be held in Geneva will cover the last 4 years of the administration of Benigno Aquino III and the first 9 months of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to Gascon, the UPR is more of a “constructive dialogue” on the human rights situation in each UN member-state. The output will include a list of observations and recommendations that the government must act on.
IN 2012, the UN Human Rights Council gave over 50 recommendations to the Philippine government but not all of these were implemented.
“A list of over 50 recommendations were there but not all was acted upon by the last government so we will be held to account for that failure,” Gascon explained. “But there would be new recommendations to be made and in the next UPR, the Duterte government will be asked to address those recommendations fully.”
Former CHR chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, meanwhile, warned that there will be repercussions if the government fails to enhance the human rights situation as recommended in the UPR.
“If it fails to show any improvement at all in the enhancement of human rights for the protection of the people, for the enhancement for a more humane, peaceful, and secure community, there’s gonna be sanctions,” she explained.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday, May 4, urged the UN to denounce the Philippines’ war on drugs, calling it a “murderous war on the poor,” and to insist on an international investigation.
As of April 23, 2017, 2,717 suspected drug personalities have been killed in police operations since the start of the Duterte administration, while 3,603 deaths are currently under investigation. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Philippines’ war on drugs)
The Philippine delegation has said it is ready to defend the government’s human rights record before the UN council.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, a member of the delegation, said that the Philippines officials will emphasize that while there are summary killings, they are not state-sponsored.
Gascon, meanwhile, said that it would be the first time for a lawmaker to represent the Philippine government at the UN review. Cayetano, Duterte's running mate in the 2016 elections, is a staunch defender of the President and his policies. – Rappler.com