Call of UN experts to probe PH rights situation shows lack of impartiality: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2020 04:38 PM

Call of UN experts to probe PH rights situation shows lack of impartiality: Palace 1
Human rights groups with relatives of children and minors killed during anti-drug operations put up a “rage shrine” with photos of the victims and toys in a protest action at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City on July 19, 2019 a few days before President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Malacañang on Friday said the fresh call of international experts for an independent investigation on the rights situation in the Philippines shows a "lack of impartiality" when it comes to President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque insisted that the Philippines has a functioning justice system to enforce laws on human rights as he noted that foreign rapporteurs should not involve themselves in the domestic affairs of the country.

"We have a working and independent judiciary that deals with violators of human rights, regardless of who they may be," Roque, a rights lawyer, said in a statement.

International rights experts on Thursday said the UN Human Rights Council report on Duterte's bloody drug war showed "widespread and systematic killings and arbitrary detention in the context of the war on drugs, killings and abuses targeting farmers and indigenous peoples, the silencing of independent media, critics and the opposition."

"The conclusions they have reached and the sanctions they have demanded confirm the lack of impartiality that has unfortunately tainted the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations when it comes to the Duterte Administration," Roque said.

The international observers also emphasized the country's human rights situation has "reached a level of gravity requiring a robust intervention by the UN," a conclusion that the Palace rejected.

"We maintain that the Philippines has continuously discharged its obligations to punish violations of human rights," Roque said.

"We call on the Special Rapporteurs to respect our legal system and the Philippines as a sovereign state," he added.

The Duterte administration has repeatedly defended its anti-drug campaign, saying those slain in operations had violently resisted arrest, making it necessary for police to defend themselves.