UN rights commissioner report, Marcos Jr.’s rebuff of ICC investigation signal need for int’l scrutiny on PH rights situation

Karapatan renewed calls for increased efforts of the international community to monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines and to take more meaningful and decisive steps such as independent investigations towards justice and accountability under the Marcos Jr. administration, as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on the Philippines in the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council and with the recent statement of Marcos Jr. rejecting investigations of the International Criminal Court.

“The report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights underscored the very limited access to justice for previously reported human rights violations, while extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, red-tagging, judicial harassment and other violations continue to be documented and reported under the Marcos Jr. administration,” stated Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

She also emphasized that “domestic redress mechanisms remain largely ineffective in delivering justice and exacting accountability, while efforts toward investigations of the ICC are being rejected.”
Karapatan noted that there have been no recent successful prosecution of perpetrators involved in extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the drug war review panel as well as that of the Task Force on Administrative Order No. 35. “Contrary to Marcos Jr.’s claims of a ‘functioning judiciary,’ the facts remain - no justice has been rendered to victims, while perpetrators including Rodrigo Duterte remain scot-free from accountability,” Palabay said.

Karapatan also noted the recent report of the UN Assistant Secretary General on reprisals, including those against Karapatan, at the 51st HRC session. While threats, harassment and judicial harassment continue to be experienced by Palabay and Karapatan human rights workers, the group cautioned the HRC against a “deliberate lie” peddled by the Philippine government on the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Karapatan’s petition for legal protection. As of this writing, the SC has yet to release a decision on Karapatan’s petition for review, after three years and two manifestations filed.

“What the government deliberately failed to mention is that we have been facing a baseless and retaliatory perjury case filed by former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon because of our efforts to seek legal protection from threats to our lives, security and liberty. The HRC member states should be cautious of similar false claims by the Philippine government in order to evade accountability,” Palabay said.

“We support efforts toward a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council to mandate the OHCHR to continue to monitor and report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, and to adopt more meaningful and decisive steps such as an independent investigation, towards justice and accountability,” she concluded.
Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Philippines: https://www.ohchr.org/en/documents/country-reports/ahrc5158-implementation-human-rights-council-resolution-4533-and-progress