Karapatan, Tanggol Bayi, SELDA, Desaparecidos, and Hustisya joint submission to the 41th session of the Universal Period Review

JOINT SUBMISSION ON THE PHILIPPINES

For the 41st Session of the Universal Periodic Review
in the United Nations Human Rights Council in October
2022 Fourth Cycle of UPR on the Philippines

SUBMITTED ON 31 MARCH 2022

Submission by

Karapatan Alliance Philippines (KARAPATAN)
www.karapatan.org, karapatan@karapatan.org

Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women) Philippines
tanggolbayi@gmail.com

Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA)
selda.phils@gmail.com

Desaparecidos
desaparecidos2009@gmail.com

Hustisya
hustisya.national@gmail.com

Office address of above organizations:
2/F Erythrina Building, 1 Maaralin Street, Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101 Philippines

1. KARAPATAN, Tanggol Bayi, Hustisya, Desaparecidos and SELDA - non-governmental organizations working for the protection and promotion of human rights in the Philippines (descriptions included in Annex 1) are providing this joint submission on the Philippines with recommendations for the 41st session of the Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council in 2022. The Philippines was a State Under Review in the past three cycles of the UPR, in 2008, 2012 and 2017.

2. The Philippine (PH) government accepted only 103 out of the 257 recommendations from States during the third cycle of the UPR in 2017. In the period of review from 2017 to March 2022, Karapatan et. al. aver that a human rights crisis besets the Philippines as we bear witness to gross violations on the right to life and civil liberties, the spiraling climate of impunity and the dire lack of effective domestic mechanisms for redress and accountability, closing civic and democratic spaces, and unmet obligations to core international human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and other UN instruments. Majority, if not all the recommendations during the 2017 Universal Periodic Review, of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and of UN Special Procedures remain unheeded.

3. Despite numerous recommendations by States during the 2017 UPR regarding extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, the killings, enforced disappearances, illegal or arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, threats, harassment, forcible evacuation, among other rights violations, have continued with bare impunity against families, communities and human rights defenders. These violations were committed in the course of the implementation of the Duterte administration’s “drug war,” counter-insurgency program and policies that undermine human rights and legitimate expressions of freedoms and political dissent, despite repeated calls for independent and credible investigations that should lead to holding the perpetrators of the said violations genuinely accountable.

4. President Duterte’s repeated and well-publicized “kill, kill, kill” pronouncements and rhetoric, as well as his threats, sexist remarks and derogatory language against his critics have not only emboldened government officials down the line to echo or mimic his words - he has articulated his orders through language that incites harm and violence against the subjects of such attacks.

5. Internationally accepted principles and norms on human rights have likewise been derogated or distorted through dangerous pronouncements and justifications for human rights violations. In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2018, President Duterte drew a binary on the concepts of “human rights” and “human lives” when he defended the killings in the drug war, when under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to a dignified life is a most recognized human right. Likewise, in numerous occasions, he stated that “drug users are not humans,” ordered government officials to shoot and kill alleged drug smugglers, ordered the police and military to shoot dead those who violate COVID-19 lockdowns and alleged communist rebels - all blatant and brazen exhortations to violate human rights and international humanitarian law.

6. Karapatan et. al. also note that despite existing international and domestic human rights framework adopted by the PH government, there is a glaring lack of effective domestic redress mechanisms that can render substantive justice for victims of human rights violations. Such environment has bred an increasingly dangerous climate of impunity in the country. Even the preliminary examinations and investigations of the International Criminal Court has been met with the PH government’s denial of its jurisdiction despite its ratification of the Rome Statute on November 1, 2011 and the recognition of its withdrawal from it on March 17, 2019, despite Recommendation 133.24 (Estonia).

7. The emergence of the son of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. as a frontrunner in surveys for the May 2022 elections, and his partnership with President Duterte’s daughter in vying for the top executive posts in government are highly worrisome developments that are viewed as a continuum of policies by the administrations of both of their political clans. Both have publicly professed such in their campaign pronouncements.

You can read and download the full report below or through this link.

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