38 nations ask PH: Stop killings, probe abuses
The Philippines is again come under fire from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after 38 nations reiterated their call on President Duterte to end the killings in its war on drugs. The UN body also slammed DU30’s refusal to cooperate with the UNHRC in investigating rights abuses.
Harry Roque, DU30’s spokesman dismissed the petition, saying the government was already making its own assessment of the country’s human rights situation and did not want foreigners to tell it what to do.
The 38 nations, including Australia, the United States, and United Kingdom, also called on the Philippine government to stop harassing human rights defenders, journalists and the Commission on Human Rights.
“We urge the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring killings associated with the campaign against illegal drugs to an end and cooperate with the international community to investigate all related deaths and hold perpetrators accountable,” the UNHRC said in a statement issued on June 19.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the government had an inventory of cases of alleged drug suspects who were killed in the war on drugs “to find out whether the right process was followed or not.”
“This means we do not need foreigners to call on us because we are already doing it, even if there is no such call,” Roque added.
The Philippine National Police maintained that the government did not have any policy “to kill drug suspects” in their operations.
Police spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno Durana denied that policemen abused their mandate as he urged the UNHRC to refer its complaints to the Solicitor General Calida.
Policemen, he said, have the “right to defend themselves and use appropriate amount of force to effect arrests of usually armed and drug-crazed suspects.”
38 Countries signed the statement
Apart from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, the other signatories to the statement were Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.
The countries issued basically the same call against President Duterte’s brutal anti-narcotics campaign during the UNHRC’s sessions in September 2017 and in March this year. Iceland drafted the latest statement.
The UNHRC, the influential rights body that counts the Philippines as one of its 47-member countries, meets thrice a year in Geneva.
“We are also concerned over reports of harassment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, including human rights defenders and journalists…members of the Commission on Human Rights,” the statement read.
Duterte had lashed out at the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, several times. He resisted her calls to investigate rights abuses and extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs. At one time, the Philippine president agreed to Callamard’s visit but stressed that her actions would be very much restricted. As of this writing, Callamard has not been granted permission to conduct the investigation. — (Source: Asia News)