Continuing rights violations, lack of accountability should impel UN Human Rights Council to investigate rights situation in PH

“The killing of broadcast journalist Percival Mabasa, the continuing lack of accountability for the killings in the drug war and counterinsurgency campaigns, and the unabated red-tagging spree of rights defenders, government critics, and even members of the judiciary by state forces and government officials sound the alarm for the pressing imperative for independent investigation on the human rights situation in the Philippines.”

Thus said rights group Karapatan, as representatives of the Philippine government led by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla deliver statements during the enhanced interactive dialogue at the 51st regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today, October 5.

“We stress this call, amidst continued denial of the Philippine government of the dire human rights situation in the country. The ‘new’ administration of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., already near its first 100 days, had all the opportunity to prosecute and hold accountable human rights violators as an urgent action. Instead, it has allowed the climate of impunity to continue and maintained the policies which result in political repression and human rights violations,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

“We emphasize that cases of rights violations in the country continue without let-up, as domestic mechanisms continue to fail to hold the perpetrators accountable and render justice to the victims. The lies and claims of the Marcos Jr. administration that the human rights situation in the country is “fair and fine” can never cover up for the continuing reports of human rights violations and the visible shrinking of spaces for basic freedoms on the ground,” said Palabay.

Palabay also said that the red-tagging of members of the judiciary like Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, the latest among members of the judiciary who was red-tagged for a court decision, is another clear indication that “the Philippine government is bound to continue with its policy of repression and state terror in the days to come.”

In its oral statement that will be delivered during the HRC session (later tonight in Manila), the group called on the UN body to maintain its mandate in reporting on the situation in the Philippines, alongside the pursuit of independent investigation, considering the steps undertaken at the International Criminal Court on the killings in the drug war under the previous Duterte administration.

“We call on the UNHRC to likewise conduct more decisive and substantive steps towards justice and accountability for human rights violations in the Philippines, as the Philippine government is also subjected to reviews by the UN Human Rights Committee and during the Universal Periodic Review. It is of utmost importance not only to the victims and their kin to be given a voice in the most severe attempts to silence calls for justice and accountability,” Palabay stated.

Karapatan, along with other human rights, faith-based and people’s organizations, are also set to participate in the UN Human Rights Committee review on the compliance of the Philippines to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on October 10 and 11, 2022, and in the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines on November 14, 2022.

Please find the attached oral statement to be delivered by Palabay. link: