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Groups on Tuesday, December 8, criticized the government’s Human Rights Summit, where President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to protect human rights amid the rising number of killings and other violations in the Philippines.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said the summit is “nothing more than a farce and desperate charade” to cover the culture of impunity.
“The Duterte administration has zero intentions of confronting the rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis in the [country] and exacting justice for its victims,” she said.
Human rights, including advocates, are consistently on the receiving end of Duterte’s threats. He had even threatened to behead those critical of his war on drugs.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said in a report that the President created a “dangerous fiction” against defenders, “purposely” engaging in acts that are detrimental to their safety. Duterte reiterated this stance on December 3, barely a week the summit, saying he “doesn’t care about human rights.”
“I say to the human rights, I don’t give a shit with you,” he said.
No moral ascendancy
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the summit aims to “serve as our platform for earnest, intelligent discourse that we may strengthen sectoral engagement and international partnerships in addressing human rights challenge.”
But for fisherfolk rights group PAMALAKAYA, even if there is an urgent need to address the situation, the DOJ has no moral ground to lead the summit since “it is the one proscribing progressive organizations and individuals as terrorist, making them legitimiate targets of state forces.”
PAMALAKAYA national chairperson Fernando Hicap also said that “human rights abuser-in-chief” Duterte and his government have no moral ascendancy to talk about human rights.
“He has even become an international pariah because of the serious human rights in the country,” he said.
Duterte’s war on drugs have been placed under scrunity since 2016 due to the high number of killings. It has been the subject of report by the United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who concluded that the anti-drug campaign is being ccarried out without regard to due process.
As of October 31, government data shows that at least 5,942 suspected drug personalities have been killed in police operations. This number doesn’t include victims of vigilante-style killings, which is estimated to have reached at least 27,000 since 2006, according to human rights groups.
CIVICUS Monitor, a global research collaboration that rates and tracks respect for fundamental freedoms in 196 countries, has downgraded the Philippines’ human rights status from “obstructed” to “repressed” in its People Power Under Attack report 2020. – Rappler.com