PH election to the UNHRC does not absolve Duterte gov’t of crimes vs the Filipino people

“The election of the Philippine government at the UN Human Rights Council does not absolve the Duterte government of its rights violations against the Filipino people. It does not erase the thousands killed in its murderous drug war or its spectrum of violations and scores of victims in indigenous and peasant communities. The new presidential spokesperson may be over the moon for this supposed “affirmation” of the government’s campaigns and human rights record, but no one is convinced. The victims of this regime are not convinced, human rights organizations and advocate both here and overseas are not convinced, many oppressed sectors are not convinced,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay. 

Palabay clarified that the country’s re-election to the UNHRC is due to the removal of any competition, instead of the Palace’s dramatized version of “acknowledgement by the international community” of the Duterte government’s infamous campaigns. She clarified that only 18 candidates were pre-selected to be running for 18 seats, which basically made the “election” uncontested.

“If any, its officials’ spin on its reelection to the UNHRC reflects the Duterte administration’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge its accountability on the numerous killings as a result of its war on drugs and its attacks on human rights defenders and civilians as a consequence of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao,” Palabay said. 

“Who would have thought the Duterte government needed this much affirmation from the international community after it has repeatedly bashed the UN and its officials for attempts at investigating reports of rights violations in the country? Perhaps, now is the opportune moment for the Duterte government to open its doors for investigation by international bodies,” Palabay added.

The UNHRC is composed of 47 UN Member-States. It included governments known for its war crimes such as the United States, which has then pulled out of the council since June.

“We thus call on the UNHRC to pursue its independent investigation to look into human rights violations in the Philippine, amid numerous reports and complaints that have been submitted to the said body. The Duterte government can spin their membership in the UNHRC all they want, but the victims will continue with their quest for justice; no trail of blood left by this murderous regime will be forgotten,” Palabay concluded.

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580