CHR urges gov't to allow U.N. rapporteur visit

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2016 07:31 PM

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday urged the Duterte administration to allow and accommodate the fact-finding mission of the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

The CHR made the request after it was reported that the government cancelled the Philippine trip of special rapporteur Agnes Callamard because she declined to accept the conditions set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"This recent development leaves ordinary and countless Filipinos to ponder whether the rule of law is still adhered to in the country or whether the current situation demonstrates the culture of impunity that has pervaded our country and caused a growing number of victims of EJKs a mounting injustice for the sufferings they continue to endure in this relentless campaign against drugs," the commission said in a statement.

"A total withdrawal of the invitation is an aggravation to the Filipino people and an affront to human rights. The rule of law cannot be dispensed with. Investigations must continue undeterred and unhampered. It is the true test of democracy," it added.

The foreign affairs department had clarified that the invitation was not cancelled but that the U.N. rapporteur still needs to comply with the guidelines the government had set.

Duterte earlier said the U.N. will have to conduct its investigation following “Philippine jurisdictional requirements.”

He also demanded a an forum or public debate where he can ask Callamard about her investigation. Callamard, for her part, asked for freedom of movement, inquiry and security arrangements, among other things.

The CHR, however, said Philippine government officials will have so many chances to ask the U.N. rapporteur about any questions they may have.

It also reminded the Duterte administration that the U.N. only means to help the government adhere to international standards on human rights.

"It is neither a debate nor a contest but rather a serious attempt of improving the Rapporteur’s understanding of a particular situation, and enabling the mandate to formulate evidence-based recommendations for strengthening implementation of human rights conventions by the State Party," it said.