Human rights groups confident UN council will act on PH killings

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2019 08:02 PM

Human rights groups are confident the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) would act on the rising number of alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL), Karapatan, and various churches under the National Council of Churches in the Philippines said they believe that majority of the 47-member UNHRC will vote in favor of the draft resolution filed by Iceland which calls for a “comprehensive written report” on the human rights situation in the country.

“May laban, hashtag may laban tayo bukas, from our conversations with the missions and sa mga natatanggap naming feedback from various capitals ng mga bansa,” Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay said.

(We have a chance tomorrow, from our conversations with the missions and the feedback we are receiving from various country capitals.)

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has consistently said that the justice system in the country is working and international institutions, particularly the UN, do not need to interfere. 

Critics, however, doubt these statements of the administration.

“If the justice system is working in the Philippines, then shouldn’t that be in your interest to invite these people to come over?” NUPL President Edre Olalia said.

The voting on the resolution of Iceland happens Thursday afternoon at the UNHRC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We have to take advantage of this resolution filed by Iceland so that this carnage must end as soon as possible,” Fr. Jonash Joyohoy of the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders said.

“Let us storm the heavens to pressure the UNHRC to vote in favor of Iceland,” Rev. Irma Balaba of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines added.

The foreign minister of Iceland on Feb. 27, 2018 urged the UNHRC to take further initiatives into investigations of human rights violations in the Philippines in connection with the country’s war on drugs.

The Philippines, Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson said, is a member of the UNHRC, along with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Egypt whose governments were also accused of human rights violations. 

Rights groups have claimed that tens of thousands have died in the Philippine government's drug war. Police have, meanwhile said, the figure is just at over 6,000 from the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016 until the end of May. 

Government has repeatedly denied involvement in summary killings, saying drug suspects slain in police operations had resisted arrest. 

- Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News