Dear friends,

We are forwarding this joint oral statement delivered by Cecile Gaa on behalf of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen the Participation, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Human Rights Watch, the Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) before the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) yesterday, March 22, for Item 10 on the General Debate on technical cooperation and capacity building.

In the statement, the groups stated that the UN HRC Resolution 45/33 offering technical assistance to the Philippines “has proven to be utterly insufficient to address the systematic human rights violations and persistent impunity” documented in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in the country; the groups called on the UN HRC to “set up an international accountability mechanism to end the cycle of violence and impunity in the Philippines.”

Karapatan is a member of FORUM-ASIA, CIVICUS, and the SOS – Torture Network of the OMCT.

Please circulate the joint statement among your networks. You may also view the statement through the attached PDF file or through this video.

Karapatan Public Information Desk

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46th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 10: General Debate on technical cooperation and capacity building

Oral statement delivered by Cecile Gaa

On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Human Rights Watch, Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

22 March 2021

Madam President,

Nearly six months since its adoption, Human Rights Council resolution 45/33 offering technical assistance to the Philippines has proven to be utterly insufficient to address the systematic human rights violations and persistent impunity documented in the High Commissioner’s report. The Philippine Government’s policies and actions since the Resolution’s adoption have been completely at odds with the commitments outlined in it.

Extrajudicial killings in the so-called ‘war on drugs’ have continued. To date, the Government has made no tangible progress towards accountability against those most responsible for such killings. In December 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC found that there is “reasonable basis to believe that the crimes against humanity” of murder, torture, the infliction of serious physical injury and mental harm, and other inhumane acts were committed between at least 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019.

Human rights defenders pursuing legitimate work, especially those who advocate for international accountability, including lawyers, continue to be attacked and accused of belonging to terrorist groups. Rights defenders continue to be arrested and jailed. The draconian Anti-Terrorism Act, passed last year, exacerbates risks to defenders. The killing of nine human rights defenders and activists on 7 March, two days after President Duterte ordered the police and military to “finish off” and “kill” those purported to be “communist rebels”, illustrates clearly the persistent killings and attacks faced by activists and defenders. It is very clear that no amount of technical assistance or capacity building will end the killings as the President and top government officials continue to incite murder and violence as official policy.

In this context, it is imperative that the Council set up an international accountability mechanism to end the cycle of violence and impunity in the Philippines.

Thank you.

Endorsed by:

Amnesty International

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Human Rights Watch

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
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Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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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.