De Lima calls on intergov’t bodies to take action vs PH drug war
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Leila de Lima urged intergovernment bodies to condemn and put a stop to the extrajudicial killings happening under President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.
This was the main message of the detained senator on Saturday, December 9, on the eve of International Human Rights Day. (READ: Robredo slams EJKs, online trolls in Human Rights Day message)
Duterte’s fiercest critic released her statement through a letter signed in her cell in the Philippine National Police headquarters, Camp Crame, where she is being detained for multiple drug charges. (READ: De Lima gets highest human rights award from Liberal International)
De Lima said governments and intergovernment bodies “appear to be either ineffective, inadequate, or simple passive” in addressing human rights violations in various countries around the world, including the Philippines.
She said the International Criminal Court (ICC) has yet to decide on the complaint against Philippine officials filed by lawyer Jude Sabio regarding the drug war. (READ: [OPINION] Respect for national proceedings?]
De Lima pointed out that various bodies under the United Nations (UN) have not taken concrete measures to address alleged abuses in the anti-drug campaign, where thousands of drug suspects have been killed.
“Domestically, the President and his Foreign Affairs Secretary [Alan Peter Cayetano] have been consistently blocking the proposal to invite the UN Special Rapporteur [Agnes Callamard] for extrajudicial killings to do a country visit. Worse, there are no serious investigations and prosecutions being done on the killings,” she lamented.
De Lima then listed the following steps the ICC and the UN bodies can take to address the Philippines’ drug war:
- The General Assembly to pass a resolution condemning the extrajudicial killings, urging its immediate stoppage, and recommending the prompt and effective investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and masterminds
- The Human Rights Council to establish an independent international commission of inquiry or an investigative commission to ferret out the truth and identify accountabilities for the mass murders;
- The ICC, through the prosecutor, to commence the preliminary examination of the cases of EJKs
She also called on the Philippine government to officially extend an invitation to Callamard to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings.
A call for solidarity
But De Lima said addressing human rights violations does not only rest on the authorities.
“We cannot remain silent and depend passively on governments. We the people ourselves have to act – act with urgency and in solidarity with each other,” said De Lima.
“With political leaders themselves demonizing their own people, and even instigating the widespread attacks against them, the need for all of us to stand up for the basic values of human dignity and equality of everyone everywhere has now become extremely urgent,” she added.
She lauded several local groups that have stood up to the Duterte administration’s abusive policies, including opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas, Movement Against Tyranny, Laban ng Masa, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement, Free Legal Assistance Movement, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
"We should support and build on such initiatives like the Commission on Human Rights’ idea of a consultative caucus, and Cardinal Tagle’s call for a multi-sectoral dialogue. Let’s speak out. Let’s talk. Let’s act together. Let’s all stand up for human rights,” said De Lima.
In another statement, De Lima took to task Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque for reminding the ICC that it is meant to "complement national efforts in criminal justice" and not have primary jurisdiction in the prosecution of persons accused of crimes against humanity.
“With the President’s admission that his administration cannot possibly investigate and prosecute the drug war murders, precisely because it is his government’s policy to carry out such murders, we can now stop pretending that you are still a human rights lawyer and that your words still carry any weight in the ICC state parties’ assembly,” she said.
De Lima said she was hoping Roque and Duterte are not thinking they “can get away with murder so easily just by withdrawing from the ICC.”
“I am sure all your years of schooling and scholarship have not made you into such a simpleton. Justice will always be done Mr Roque. You for one should know that,” she said. – Rappler.com