THE Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday called on the Duterte administration to show more respect to other human rights bodies.
“We caution the government against dispensing allegations without proof,” CHR spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia said.
“Rather than attacking human rights bodies and human rights defenders, we urge the government to display a sincere commitment to transparency and the rule of law by allowing unhampered investigations to take place.”
The commission has expressed concern over the government’s questioning of the legitimacy of international human rights bodies inquiring about the rule of law and human rights in the Philippines.
“This is despite the fact that the Philippines has been a signatory to a number of treaties on human rights which, in turn, have given authority to these bodies to monitor the situation and recommend measures in improving the human rights condition in the country,” De Guia said.
She said the government is open to investigations except for those it claims are biased, adding expressions of concern on the human rights situation in the country should not be construed as partiality.
As in the case of UN Special Rapporteurs, investigations were opportunities to clarify and collaborate in pursuit of better protection and promotion of human rights on the ground, De Guia said.
“Instead, Agnes Callamard [Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions] has been constantly a subject of government tirades. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz [Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples] has been included in a petition to declare her as a terrorist,” De Guia said.
“And recently, even the Philippine security sector was advised by the President to ignore human rights probes by international human rights bodies due to their perceived lack of merit and bias.”
De Guia said the UN Human Rights Special Procedures, which includes the Special Rapporteurs, were entitled to immunities and protection as experts of the UN system.
The Philippines had a particular duty to ensure their safety and security, she said.
“As such, we join the call for these charges against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz to be dropped in order that she may remain unhindered in performing her mandate here in the Philippines and elsewhere she may be called upon to undertake her investigations,” De Guia said.
“Due process must never be compromised in the investigation and prosecution of cases. If all these basic human rights are observed, we will be treated with respect by the international community and there will be no reason for the international human rights bodies to assume jurisdiction over what should otherwise be purely domestic affairs.”