UN Human Rights Council scores killings, climate of impunity in PH

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UNOHCHR
The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

Iceland on Thursday delivered a joint statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council, on behalf of 39 states, expressing concern at the thousands of killings and climate of impunity associated with President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs.”

The joint statement was delivered on behalf of:
1. Australia
2. Austria
3. Belgium
4. Bulgaria
5. Canada
6. Croatia
7. Cyprus
8. Czech Republic
9. Denmark
10. Estonia
11. Finland
12. France
13. Georgia
14. Germany
15. Greece
16. Iceland
17. Ireland
18. Italy
19. Latvia
20. Liechtenstein
21. Lithuania
22. Luxembourg
23. Macedonia
24. Malta
25. Moldova
26. Montenegro
27. Norway
28. Poland
29. Portugal
30. Rumania
31. Slovakia
32. Slovenia
33. Spain
34. Sweden
35. Switzerland
36. The Netherlands
37. UK
38. Ukraine
39. United States

This represents seven more countries than the 32 states that expressed similar concerns last June.

New signatories include the USA, Canada, Australia, Ukraine and Georgia, among others.

John Fisher, Geneva Director of Human Rights Watch, said:

“A growing chorus of voices is speaking out at the United Nations’ top human rights body to condemn the thousands of killings in the Philippines perpetrated in the name of President Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. The Philippines has so far shown itself unwilling to heed the calls to end this murderous campaign and hold those responsible to account. The Human Rights Council should step in, and do all that it can to end the violence, support an international investigation into the deaths, and demand accountability for all unlawful killings.”

The joint statement delivered by Iceland at the Human Rights Council 36th session said, in part: “Since the Philippines underwent its UPR review this year, the human rights situation continues to be of serious concern.

“We remain concerned about the thousands of killings and climate of impunity associated with the war on drugs, and note recent stated commitments to observe due process in investigating these crimes.

“We urge the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring these killings to an end and cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law.”

In the statement, Iceland mentioned “intimidations” against human rights defenders (HRDs) and called on the Philippines “to ensure their full protection and the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is guaranteed without reprisals.

“We urge the government to pursue investigations of alleged human rights violations and abuses and to create a safe and secure environment for indigenous communities, journalists and HRDs.

“It is essential that governments are open to discussing human rights concerns based on UN recommendations and those of the civil society. We welcome the engagement of the Philippines with the UPR process and encourage them to fully implement the 103 recommendations they have accepted, while expressing regrets that recommendations necessary to address serious human rights violations were not accepted.

“We reiterate, that as a member of the HRC, the Philippines is expected to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and to cooperate fully with the Council. We call upon the Government to work with civil society and the UN to promote and protect human rights, including by welcoming a visit from the SR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, without preconditions or limitations.

“We encourage the Philippines to request technical assistance in this regard, if necessary.”