CHR to Duterte gov't: Fulfill duty as U.N. rights council member

END THE KILLINGS. Protesters light candles and hold banners calling for an end to drug war killings in the Philippines.

File photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday, October 14, reminded the Philippine government that being part of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council means it has obligations to fulfill.

"Accompanying the candidacy for seeking a seat in the council are the human rights pledges," CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit said in a statement.

"The commission will monitor these pledges as we engage the government and call on them to fulfill their obligations as a member of the council," she added.

The obligations, stated under a UN General Resolution in 2006, require council members to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights. Full cooperation with the council and its various mechanisms, among others, is also mandated.

The Philippines won its bid for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, October 12, despite criticism and campaigning against its election by various groups, including Human Rights Watch.

Malacañang on Saturday, October 13, claimed that the country's reelection is a recognition that the government respects human rights and does not tolerate abuse by those in authority.

But the CHR pointed out that the inclusion of the Philippines in the council was "expected because the Asian group fielded as many candidates as there were seats in the Human Rights Council."

Aside from the Philippines, 4 other Asian countries were elected – Bahrain, Bangladesh, Fiji, and India. The Philippines got 165 out of 193 votes. 

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has consistently been under fire from local and international groups for the high number of killings under his violent anti-drug campaign.

Former UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein previously condemned Duterte for ordering the Philippine National Police to ignore possible probes into alleged human rights violations. –

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.