3 U.N. special rapporteurs to probe violations vs De Lima
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A United Nations panel has referred the case of detained Senator Leila de Lima to 3 special rapporteurs to investigate the violations committed against her by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies.
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) formally referred De Lima’s case after it found sufficient grounds that violate her rights as a duly-elected senator and a human rights defender.
The referral was part of the 5-point recommendations in the opinion adopted by the panel on August 24. It was published on November 30.
The senator’s case was referred to the following:
- David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
- Dubrayka Simonovic, special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
- Diego Garcia-Sayan, special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
Kaye is tasked to look into the alleged violations committed against De Lima for her “convictions and public statements regarding extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.”
“The Working Group expresses its serious concerns about the unfavorable remarks made publicly by the President and his allies against her after she expressed her intention to investigate the extrajudicial killings under the so-called war on drugs,” the panel said.
Simonovic is tasked to look into the supposed discrimination against De Lima due to her political opinion and her status as a human rights defender and as a woman.
“The Working Group expresses its particular concern at the sexist statements and attacks on her personal life by President Duterte and his political allies that cast serious doubt on the government’s solemn undertaking to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights,” the Opinion said.
Meanwhile, Garcia-Sayan is tasked to look into violations of De Lima’s right to a fair trial.
The UN panel has asked the Philippine government to immediately free De Lima from detention and to ensure a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding her detention.
The senator, on Saturday, December 22, thanked the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) for endorsing the findings and recommendations of the UNHRC-WGAD.
“PGA’s endorsement of the WGAD Opinion only further confirms my political persecution and unjust detention that are obviously connected to my staunch criticisms of the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs and other anti-human rights policies,” she said.
De Lima, the fiercest critic of President Duterte, has been in detention in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since February 2017, for alleged drug violations. The senator repeatedly denied the charges, saying these were fabricated by Duterte and his allies. – Rappler.com