News release
References (Heads of Delegation):
Atty. Ephraim Cortez, Secretary General, National Union of Peoples Lawyers ,+639175465798
Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, Karapatan, +639997721233

September 22, 2017

UPR Watch Renew Calls for Human Rights as UN body adopts Philippine Human Rights Report
Delegates of the Philippine UPR Watch reiterated their calls on the Duterte government to stop  extra-judicial killings,  stop the threats against human rights defenders and an end to militarization of  peasant communities, in oral statements made before the member states participating in the 36th session of  the UN Human Rights Council .
Roneo Clamor, deputy-secretary general  of Karapatan,  and authorized to speak for international human rights organizations World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS) and   International Service for Human Rights  ( ISHR ),  scored the Philippine government for the killing of more than 600 human rights defenders (HRDs),  killed since 2001 because of the government’s counter insurgency programs. “There has been no respite in the harassment and threats against HRDs by State security forces. Human rights activists, including Karapatan’s Secretary General Cristina Palabay and those advocating for a safe and healthy environment, among other rights, are threatened. Duterte’s pronouncements endanger lives of HRDs vocal against his repressive policies, including the drug war, his all-out war and martial law declarations.” Karapatan called for a “halt to all forms of attacks on human rights defenders, the enactment of a law for the protection of HRDs and to enable the independent investigation of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of HRDs in the Philippines.”

Sharon Cabusao-Silva of Gabriela, speaking on behalf of  the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,  expressed concern on the deteriorated human rights situation particularly in Marawi and in the context of the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.  Cabusao stressed that “barely five months since the Philippine government presented its report, yet parts of our country have become a virtual inferno, with incessant bombings by the military in Marawi and brutal killings by the police everyday.” 

Cabusao-Silva also criticized what she said was the “use of rape and rape threats as instruments of war” referring to incidents reported by Marawi women evacuees who experienced rape threats when they refused to evacuate.  “Militarism, combined with the misogynism of top government officials create a very unfavorable” climate for women’s human righs in the country.  Cabusao-Silva also mentioned the issues of labor contractualization and health and reproductive care as among women’s top concerns.

The Philippine government’s response to the UN report was delivered by Ambassador  Evan Garcia,  Philippine Ambassador  and Permanent Representative to Geneva.  Garcia stated that the Philippines accepted many of the recommendations by member states, particularly those that dealt with education, climate change and other socio-economic issues but continued to deny the existence of extra-judicial killings, claiming that the deaths resulted from “legitimate police operations”.   Garcia likewise stated that many other recommendations cannot be responded to by the Philippine governments as these require legislative action, or were otherwise “sweeping, vague and contradictory.”#