'Bullying': PH 'totally' rejects UN body resolution seeking rights report

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2019 08:08 PM | Updated as of Jul 18 2019 09:18 PM

MANILA - The United Nations Human Rights Council's adoption of a resolution calling for a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines is a form of bullying, the official who led the Philippine delegation during the vote in Geneva, Switzerland said.

"We do not see this as something effective. We see this as something which is a form of bullying and we cannot stand this sort of bullying," said Undersecretary Severo Catura of the Presidential Human Rights Committee.

Speaking during the presentation of the government's "real numbers" on the drug war on Thursday, Catura said the government rejects the resolution.

"We stand by the position that we totally reject that resolution. Any action in relation to that we will not honor. There are other engagements but not through that resolution," he said.

The UN Human Rights Council last week adopted Iceland's resolution calling for a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, including alleged killings in the drug war.

During its 41st regular session in Geneva, 18 countries voted yes to the adoption, 14 no, and 15 abstained.

Catura said the Philippines has always been open with regards to its track record in so far as human rights matters are concerned.

"The reason why we do not wish to have a country-specific resolution is because it totally negates the effectiveness of other mechanisms in the UN wherein we're very much involved," he said.

Every four years, the Philippines, he said, is reviewed under the universal periodic review of the UNHRC. The country is also signatory to eight core international treaties to which it reports periodically too.

They also submit updates if concerns are raised by the UN's special rapporteurs, except Agnes Callamard, with whom they do not wish to deal anymore.

"So what is the need for a specific country resolution compelling the Philippines to undergo the same review mechanism? That totally disregards everything," he pointed out.

Despite the resolution, Catura relayed that the Philippine delegation had a very successful engagement in Geneva.

Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview Thursday the government should not waste time on a resolution that did not even get the vote of the majority.

"My advice to the Philippine government at this point is really not to give it too much attention. Number 1, the voting record does not show it has overwhelming support. Number 2, it's a toothless tiger anyway."
 
He added that the resolution has no moral authority and that the institution has no power to jail or impose sanctions on anyone.

“You cannot shame a president where in the Philippines his constituents have given him an overwhelming vote of support, at least as far as public surveys are concerned,” Roque said.