CHR: Gov't should respect UN human rights recommendations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2017 02:40 PM

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has urged the Duterte administration to act on recommendations of the United Nations (UN) on the human rights situation in the country following a review in Geneva, Switzerland last week.

The Philippines belongs to the international community and is answerable to whatever happens in the country, said CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit.

Majority of the recommendations during the 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from 95 member states were on concerns over cases of alleged drug-related extrajudicial killings, preventing the reinstatement of capital punishment, and the protection of children’s rights.

Their recommendations were "an affirmation" of concerns the CHR brought up months ago, Dumpit said, particularly regarding the administration's bloody war on drugs.

"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," Dumpit said.

The UPR is currently reviewing the human rights situation of all 193 UN member states, the CHR said in a statement. States have a chance to outline improvements they have undertaken and what other challenges they need to overcome to be able to act according to human rights mandates.

Last week, the UN told the Philippines to report back “with a clear position” on the recommendations, come the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) September session.

The Philippines should do so, in order to prove that it is credible, and “a responsible State, party to our International Conventions,” said Dumpit.

Aside from responding to the UN, the CHR said it hopes local agencies would "cooperate fully" by giving them copies of the complete reports of investigators and medical examiners, to allow the rights watchdog to conduct independent investigations.

The Philippines presented its human rights situation before the UN HRC in Geneva on May 8, defending the Duterte administration's track record amid heavy international criticism of the President's war on drugs.

The president has shot down criticism of his campaign, citing the magnitude of the country's narcotics problem, which he said even involved politicians. 

His allies have meanwhile blasted the reporting of "bloated" death toll figures in the media. 

Philippine National Police (PNP) data released this month showed that a total of 2,949 drug suspects have been killed in presumed legitimate anti-drug operations over the last 10 months. 

As of March 2017 meanwhile, PNP data showed that least 9,432 homicide cases were recorded since President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power and ordered a campaign against illegal drug users and peddlers. More than 5,600 homicide cases of unknown circumstances remain unsolved.