Families urge U.N. rights council to act vs PH drug war killings

MANILA, Philippines – Families of victims of extrajudicial killings on Tuesday, July 9, urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to adopt the proposed resolution that seeks actions against drug war deaths in the Philippines. 

Rise Up Coordinator Rubylin Litao said that she believes the support of the international community can help stem violence in the country.

Kinakailangan natin ng support ng international community, kasama na ang mga advocates, para ipahayag sa mundo na may nagaganap na mali sa ating lipunan (We need the support of the international community, including the advocates, to tell the world what's happening in our society)," she said.

Iceland on July 4 filed a draft resolution that, once adopted, would request rights chief Michelle Bachelet to prepare a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines. It would also urge the Philippine government to cooperate by facilitating country visits and “refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.”

The council is expected to vote on the resolution before Friday, July 12. 

CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon explained that through this resolution, there will be regular monitoring of the human rights situation in the country, as well as sending out reports should there be a need for investigation. 

No justice in PH

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said Iceland's resolution was one big step towards attaining justice as it serves as a reminder that these grievances were  not forgotten.

Kung ang mga korte dito ay hindi sumasang-ayon o mabilis makuha ang pananagutan sa may sala, mayroon tayong karapatan na pumunta sa mga international mechanisms para dito maghanap ng hustisya," she said.

(If the local courts don't favor [the case] or it's difficult to hold those at fault accountable, we have the right to seek international mechanisms to find justice.)

Duterte’s bloody war on drugs has led to the death of at least 6,000 suspected drug personalities in police operations while human rights groups estimated the number to reach more than 20,000 to include those killed vigilante-style. (READ: The Impunity Series)

One of the latest victims is 3-year-old Myca Ulpina who was killed during an operation that targeted her father, Renato Dolorfina, and another unidentified cohort on June 29.(READ: CHR: Minors killed in drug war 'simply not collateral damage’)

CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit, who attended the recent 41st UNHRC session held in Geneva, explained the rationale behind their efforts. She said that most cases end up as internal investigations into the policemen involved, and  never reach court.

"Kasama kami sa inyo na nanalangin na at the end of the day, it’s an independent investigation that will say with finality what will happen,” Gomez-Dumpit said. 

"Ang gusto namin dito ay mabigyan natin ng pangalan ang bawat numero. Higit pa roon, nais namin magsabi kung ano ang nangyari sa taong iyon pero sa pamamagitan ng isang independent, thorough, at impartial na imbestigasyon,” she added.

(We are with you in praying that at the end of the day, it's an independent investigation that will say with finality what will happen. What we want is to give a name to each number. Beyond that, we want to know what happened to that person but through an independent, thorough, and impartial investigation.) – Rappler.com 

Micah Avry Guiao is a Rappler intern from the Ateneo de Manila University.