International watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday urged President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to choose “qualified and independent” human rights advocates who will take posts as commissioners at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
HRW deputy Asia director Phil Robertson, in a statement, said Marcos should guarantee an inclusive and transparent process in selecting the new commissioners of the body.
“President-elect Marcos should appoint commissioners with a proven track records of defending human rights,” Robertson said.
Robertson noted that the appointment of the new commissioners will be”an important first test for his administration’s commitment to human rights.”
Robertson said Marcos should convene an independent search committee, which will come up with a short list of candidates for commissioners.
“This committee should identify individuals with strong human rights backgrounds and credentials. Convening such a search committee will help ensure transparency in the process,” Robertson said.
Amnesty International said there had been human rights abuses under the military rule of Marcos’ father, late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Amnesty International pegged the number of those killed under Martial Law from 1972 to 1981 at 3,200 while those who were illegally detained at 70,000.
Recently, Marcos had committed to ensuring a high-level of accountability when it comes to human rights, according to United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez.
The HRW also said Marcos would “inherit” the human rights situation under the Duterte administration, which has been plagued with alleged violations and abuses.
Earlier, Marcos Jr. said he was inclined to attend the United Nations General Assembly in September, citing the importance of the event and his desire to meet with other world leaders.
Marcos issued the statement after UN Resident Coordinator to the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez paid a courtesy call to Marcos at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City to discuss preparations for this year’s UN General Assembly in New York, USA. Gonzalez said he discussed three main points of the UN—human rights, peace, and development—with Marcos.
Gonzalez said the President-elect emphasized the need to ensure a “high level of accountability” for human rights violations.
“On human rights, my message was to, first of all, reiterate the support of the United Nations to all the efforts of the Philippines on the human rights agenda,” he said. “He (Marcos) mentioned also the importance of ensuring a high level of accountability in terms of human rights.”
Gonzales said Marcos also said there has been a series of consultations to uphold and protect human rights in the Philippines.