MANILA, Philippines – Members of the European Parliament are scheduled to visit the Philippines from Wednesday, February 22, to Friday, February 24, as part of efforts to cooperate on human rights and reforms in the justice sector.
In a statement on Monday, February 20, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said six members of the EU Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (EP DROI) will head a delegation visiting Manila this week.
While in the country, European officials are expected to meet with their counterparts in Congress, and pay courtesy calls on Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual.
“The visit of the EP DROI is taking place in the context of the open and regular engagement between the Philippines and the EU on human rights, and the shared aim to further constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights,” the DFA said.
The agency also said it welcomes the visit of the EU lawmakers “as it signifies the expanding dialogue and cooperation” between Manila and the regional bloc.
The European Parliament had been among the institutions that expressed concern over widespread killings and abuses in the Philippines under former president Rodrigo Duterte.
In recent years, the EU Parliament passed resolutions calling for an “independent international investigation” into killings under Duterte’s drug war as well as justice for detained former senator Leila de Lima.
In February 2022, it also called on the Philippines to act on human rights abuses, or risk losing trade perks and market access under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+).
Asked if the delegation would bring up the renewal of GSP+ perks during their trip, the DFA said it would refer the matter to the Department of Trade and Industry should it be raised.
The visit by EU lawmakers also comes as De Lima marks her sixth year in detention on Friday. European lawmakers have repeatedly called for dismissal of the “politically motivated” cases against the former senator. – Rappler.com
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