Karapatan, int’l rights groups renew call for UNHRC’s independent investigation on the situation in PH, in light of ICC request

At the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Karapatan and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development renewed their call for the Council to conduct an independent investigation on the human rights situation in the Philippines, in the light of the request of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation on the alleged rights violations in the Duterte administration’s “drug war.”

The oral statement delivered via video by Karapatan legal counsel Maria Sol Taule at the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions yesterday, July 1, 2021.

“Indeed, such killings continue to this day with recent killings of drug suspects, indigenous peoples, peasants, human rights defenders, workers and many others, with domestic mechanisms rendered ineffective in obtaining justice and accountability and a climate of impunity that besets us, especially with the use of counter-terror laws to suppress dissent,” Taule stated.

They thanked Agnes Callamard, outgoing special rapporteur, for “her attention, analysis and action on killings perpetrated by State security forces in the Philippines in relation to the sham drug war and of civil society members, activists, political dissenters and lawyers.” Taule said “[D]espite experiencing reprisals, she continued to monitor and speak on the human rights situation in the country.”

Karapatan also co-signed the joint statement of 20 national and international rights organizations which was also delivered during the said interactive dialogue, expressing deep concern that “the UN Joint Human Rights Programme and corresponding nominal accomplishments of the Philippines shall further establish a false perception of sufficient action while atrocities continue as routine.”

The groups said that “[T]he situation urgently requires direct accountability action by the Council...We urge the Council to launch the long-overdue independent and transparent investigation.”

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The two oral statements were delivered during the 17th meeting at the 47th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. You can view the interactive dialogue here or through the embedded video below.

You may view the joint oral statement of Karapatan and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development through the embedded video below. You can also download a text copy of the joint oral statement here. You can download a text copy of the joint statement of 20 national and international human rights organizations delivered during the interactive dialogue here.