Karapatan: Resumption of ICC investigation, results of ILO high level mission should prod UNHRC independent investigation on PH

The decision of the International Criminal Court’s Pre-Trial chamber to resume investigations into the drug war killings plus the findings of the International Labor Organization’s high level tripartite mission on the attacks against working people’s freedom of association and the right to organize that come on top of continuing reports on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Philippines should serve as strong indicators for the UN Human Rights Council to conduct an independent and long-overdue investigation on the country’s human rights situation, said human rights alliance Karapatan.

On January 26, 2023, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I authorized its prosecutor to resume investigations on the alleged crimes against humanity committed in the course of former President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, saying that it is “not satisfied that the Philippines is undertaking relevant investigations that would warrant a deferral of the Court’s investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle.” On the same day, the ILO high level tripartite mission concluded its probe after receiving various documented cases regarding violations on working people’s rights.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that the probes conducted by both international bodies would bear out the fact that domestic redress mechanisms have failed to render justice to the victims and their families. “The drug war review panel has yielded no substantial results in terms of the successful prosecution of government officials and other State actors who directed and implemented the murderous war on drugs,” said Palabay. “The task force on Administrative Order 35, meanwhile, has nothing to show on conviction rates for violators of workers’ right to life, liberty and security,” she added.

“Government officials claiming that our justice system is working cannot even credibly substantiate their statements. The lack of accountability by State forces for human rights violations has been noted by numerous States during the November 2022 Universal Periodic Review and by independent rights experts during the UN Human Rights Committee review in October 2022,” she said.

Karapatan has documented at least 12 victims of extrajudicial killings in the first six months of the Marcos II administration’s counter-insurgency program, while independent monitors have continued to receive reports of deaths in the course of the government’s anti-drug operations.“Threats, including red-tagging, arbitrary arrests and detention, abductions and enforced disappearances, forced evacuation, fake surrenders and other IHL violations have likewise continued,” said Palabay

“The Marcos II administration’s policies are the very same ones implemented by previous regimes, especially by the Duterte government. As long as these policies remain, and as long as the State perpetrators of rights violations remain unpunished, injustice and the climate of impunity will continue to rear their ugly heads in the Philippines,” she said.