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Turning our back on human rights

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THE COMMISSION on Human regrets the Philippine Government’s position on critical human rights resolutions adopted during the recently concluded 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC).

We likewise express grave concern on the report that the Philippines is one of the 48 countries where human rights defenders, activists, and civil society organizations experience rising reprisals after accessing UN human rights mechanisms.

It is incumbent upon the Philippine Government as a UN Member State to show full respect and compliance with its treaty obligations and to be more cooperative with international bodies in addressing the human rights situation in the country. In particular, it should adopt UN recommendations to act and investigate cases of retaliations against and criminalization of human rights defenders.

The Commission, as part of its ongoing efforts, has also launched a national inquiry on the situation of human rights defenders that looks into the different forms of harassments and intimidation against individuals and groups in the course of their work in documenting and monitoring human rights violations on the ground.

As part of its human rights legislative agenda, it will likewise continue to do stronger legislative campaigning against the reimposition of death penalty in the country as this is violative of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Second Optional Protocol, which the Philippines is both a state party to.

We stress that human rights groups are necessary in enhancing respect towards these treaties by reminding the Philippine Government of its commitments should they be remiss in fulfilling them. At the same time, human rights bodies should be seen as partners in furthering of the human rights of all, not as adversaries of any nation.

(CHR statement on Phl’s votes during the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, and on the UN report on reprisals against human rights defenders, Oct. 5, 2019)

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