CHR urges govt to address UN-backed Universal Periodic Review’s concerns
THE Commission on Human Rights on Friday urged the Duterte administration to address the recommendations of the 95 United Nations member-states on the human rights situation in the country raised before the 3rd Universal Periodic Review session in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We belong to the international community. We are answerable to whatever happens in the Philippines, specifically to the human rights situation on the ground,” Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said. “We are accountable, especially the government, because they are in-charge of implementing the laws and policies of the land.”
Among the recommendations from the member-states were concerns on cases of extrajudicial killings on the war against drugs, return of death penalty and protection of children’s rights, including a proposed bill to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
The recommendations must be addressed by the Duterte administration, the CHR said.
“The UPR is an affirmation of the things that we have expressed concern many months ago, but have been brushed aside. More than anything, the UPR is an affirmation of the recognition of the serious problems that we have, particularly when it comes to the methods, and the result of the government’s campaign against drugs,” Gomez-Dumpit said.
She added that the CHR is hoping the UPR could open opportunities for constructive engagement, particularly with the Philippine National Police and the rest of the security sector, as duty bearers in protecting and promoting human rights.
She also gave assurance the CHR is willing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of cases.
“We would like to see the names behind the numbers, the cases filed behind the numbers,” she said. “We hope that they also cooperate fully by furnishing us copies of complete Scene of the Crime Operatives, autopsy, on the spot, and other reports that we also need to further conduct independent investigations. The UPR is a process reviewing the human rights situation of all 193 members.”
“Come July, the government must respond whether they would accept, reject, or subject to further study some recommendations. In September, the Human Rights Council will adopt the working group report on the Philippines. That is the time that civil society groups, including the CHR, would have time to speak and comment about the report,” Gomez-Dumpit said.
The Philippines is among the founding members of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006. “It also boils down to our credibility. We have to show that we are a responsible State party to our International Conventions,” the CHR commissioner said.
“The repercussions is real when we talk about reputation and credibility of the country. Credibility goes a long way in terms of trade relations, bilateral relations, and even multilateral relations. When we talk about credibility, we talk about security in our country; trade will be affected, tourism will be affected, business will also be affected.”