UN experts levy harshest, broadest accusations to date . . .
Eleven United Nations special rapporteurs have called for a UN Human Rights Council inquiry into the state of human rights in the Philippines in the strongest and broadest condemnation to date of government-sanctioned rights violations. The scope of the inquiry would include not just extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs, but also other alleged multiple human rights violations. The Philippines immediately rejected the call for an independent United Nations probe.
“Sharp deterioration” in rights is extensive . . .
The rapporteurs accused President Rodrigo Duterte of publicly intimidating activists and Supreme Court judges, degrading women, and inciting violence against alleged drug pushers, media, human rights defenders, and lawyers. The rapporteurs catalogued a range of alleged violations, including killings of children, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and trade union and land right activists, as well as cases including allegations of arbitrary detention and gender-based violence against women human rights defenders. They further flagged Duterte’s alleged threats to bomb the schools of the Lumad Indigenous peoples on the island of Mindanao. Earlier this year, the UN High Commissioner presented estimates of up to 27,000 extrajudicial killings, of which only one case had been prosecuted.
Ball in court of UN Human Rights Council . . .
The strong-worded Philippines government response to the UN allegations echoed its responses to other international disputes, including a series of diplomatic spats with Canada. The UN call is “not only . . . intellectually challenged but an outrageous interference on Philippine sovereignty,” said a Philippines presidential spokesperson. With such rhetoric, it is doubtful that the Philippines government will change course on its continuing degradation of human rights. It also remains to be seen whether the rapporteurs’ call will be heeded at the UN Human Rights Council’s next session beginning June 24.
- United Nations Office of the High Commissioner: UN human rights experts call for independent probe into Philippines violations
- Rappler: U.N. experts call for probe into human rights violations in the Philippines
- The Philippine Star: Philippines rejects call for UN probe into alleged rights violations