CHR: PH seat in UN rights council should prompt gov't action on alleged abuses

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2018 02:08 PM

A woman weeps over the body of her husband, who was killed on a street by a vigilante group, according to police, in a spate of drug-related killings in Pasay City, July 2016. Czar Dancel, Reuters/File

MANILA - Winning a seat in the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council requires the Philippine government to act on alleged abuses, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Saturday.

Manila's credibility to be part of the body depends on its ability to address reported human rights abuses, particularly "growing cases" of extrajudicial killings in its own backyard, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said. 

"The Commission on Human Rights welcomes the Philippines’ election to the UN Human Rights Council," De Guia said in a statement. 

"Earning a seat in the said Council, however, puts pressure on the Philippine government to address numerous allegations of human rights violations, starting with the growing cases of extrajudicial killings purportedly linked to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs," she added.

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has faced allegations of being behind summary killings of drug suspects. Officials have many times denied this, saying those slain in police raids had resisted arrest. 

More than 4,200 drug suspects have been killed since 2016, but human rights groups and government critics said this figure is understated.

"The Philippines’ credibility to be part of this body rests on its ability to effect actions that will concretely address these allegations, in line with its mandate to promote, protect, and fulfill the human rights of all and not just of a select few," De Guia said. 

The Philippines on Friday garnered 165 of the 192 votes to win a seat at the UN Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental body "responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe."

With the victory, the Philippines will get to serve another 3-year term in the 47-member Council based in Geneva from 2019 to 2021.

De Guia said the CHR will continue to help the UN monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines.

"For its part, CHR will continue to perform its mandate of helping UN monitor the human rights situation on the ground as the country’s independent national human rights institution," she said.

Earlier this year, the council urged the Philippines to cooperate with the UN for an assessment of the country's human rights situation.