Subject: [Karapatan HR update] PH UPR Watch Delegation Returns; Euro States Pledge Support for Peace Talks, Rights
Press Statement
May 19, 2017
Atty. Ephraim Cortez, secretary general, National Union of Peoples Lawyers, +639175465798
Jigs Clamor, deputy secretary general, Karapatan and co-head, Philippine UPR Watch delegation, +639997721233
PH UPR Watch Delegation Returns; Euro States Pledge Support for Peace Talks, Rights
“Our Mission to the UN Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights in the Philippines is a big success in terms of the political support we received from governments, NGOs as well as migrant Filipinos on our campaigns regarding human rights and the peace talks.”  This was the gist of a statement issued by the Philippine UPR Watch delegation as they arrive from an extended stay in Europe following the UN event in Geneva, Switzerland.
Atty. Ephraim Cortez, spokesperson of the Philippine UPR Watch, said several member states of the UN expressed their support for the group’s calls to put a stop to extra-judicial killings in the government’s war against drugs as well as politically motivated executions and enforced disappearances. 
“The protection of human rights defenders was also high on the agenda, in both the UN event and in post-UPR events we attended, including discussions with individual missions, members of the European Parliament, international NGOs, UN human rights agencies and among migrant Filipinos,” Atty. Cortez said. 
The Foreign Ministry of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg stated that the protection of human rights defenders is a matter of high priority, in a meeting with other members of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation who traveled to the Belgium and Luxembourg for the meeting. The Luxembourg government had earlier called, during the UN Review, for an effective protection system for human rights defenders and journalists, and to ensure the free exercise of the rights to freedom of opinion, expression and association.  It also called for “an end to impunity by ensuring impartial investigations and bringing to justice those responsible for extrajudicial killings and torture.”
The Foreign Ministry likewise expressed interest in the ongoing peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Philippine government. Members of the Philippine UPR Watch likewise met with two members of the European Parliament prior to the UN Review.  
“It is high time that President Duterte, and his top officials in the AFP and PNP heed calls to uphold human rights especially those of the poor who fall victims to the PNP’s obsessive and ill-conceived war on drugs and the AFP’s all-out war against indigenous peoples and rural communities,” said Atty. Cortez. 
The official adoption of the UN Review on Human Rights in the Philippines is scheduled for September 2017, when non-governmental groups and human rights advocates will be allowed to orally intervene in the Review, and the PH government is expected to respond to the consolidated recommendations and issues to be prepared by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council.

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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.