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Karapatan to Remulla: PH gov’t should issue standing invitations to UNSR on EJKs, others to investigate killings and all rights violations

Karapatan to Remulla: PH gov’t should issue standing invitations to UN
SR on EJKs, others to investigate killings and all rights violations

KARAPATAN Public Information

22 November 2022,

Human rights alliance Karapatan said that the Philippine government
should issue standing invitations for all UN Special Procedures,
especially the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, human
rights defenders, indigenous peoples, independence of lawyers and
judges, and right to health, to conduct official investigations on
reports of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in
the country.

“While the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings is most
welcome to provide support for capacity building activities on human
rights, the most pressing need for an official visit by the mandate
comes from the continuing reports of extrajudicial killings in the
country and the dire lack of justice related to the drug war and
counterinsurgency programs, as well as to the killings of journalists,
lawyers and those in the legal profession. The Philippine government
should heed the call of UN member states to issue standing invitations
to all UN Special Procedures,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina

During the latest UPR of the Philippines last week, at least four UN
member States – Uruguay, Luxembourg, Uruguay, and Latvia – called on the
Philippine government to issue standing invitations for Special
Procedures’ official visits to the country to look into reports of human
rights violations, while Ghana recommended that the UN Special
Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings be granted unrestricted access to
the country.

Palabay said that such visits can hopefully provide more substantial and
independent actions and recommendations on the killings, as well as on
the root causes of policies and practices driving such violations.

Contrary to what Secretary Remulla stated during the UPR that there is
no culture of impunity in the country, Karapatan said that the
government has very little to show for cases of successful prosecution
and final convictions of perpetrators of EJKs and other rights
violations, especially among State actors.

“Coupled with draconian policies, official pronouncements by government
officials and continuing violations on the ground, Sec. Remulla’s claim
is unsubstantiated. Several UN member states who have called for an end
to the extrajudicial killings and for independent investigations during
the last UPR clearly did not buy these claims,” Palabay continued.

Karapatan said that it will monitor the 200 recommendations that the
Philippine government reportedly accepted during the UPR, and urged UN
member states to ensure time-bound and tangible actions especially on
accountability issues, instead of mere promises on paper.

The group noted that the Philippines publicly expressed rejection of
recommendations pertaining to measures on sexual orientation, gender
identity, expression equality, decriminalization of abortion and
divorce. The government also reportedly reserved responses to
recommendations on State actors’ involvement in extrajudicial killings,
arbitrary arrests and detention, and enforced disappearances;
red-tagging and the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders’ Protection
Bill; its rejoining the Rome Statute of the International Criminal
Court; the impact of laws such as the Anti-Terrorism Act and the
Cybercrime Prevention Act on the freedom of expression and association;
the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of
All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and the Optional Protocols on
the Convention on the Rights of Children; establishment of the National
Preventive Mechanism against torture, among others.

“The Philippines’ rejection of specific recommendations and those
without immediate responses show that the government refuses to
acknowledge the long-standing human rights issues and concerns in the
country,” Palabay stated.

Karapatan also decried Remulla’s statements on civil society groups’
participating in the UPR as “somehow linked to the armed movement
against government, linked to terrorism” and who “destroy the image of
the country.”

These statements, Palabay said, belie Secretary Remulla’s claims that
red-tagging is not an official policy of the Philippine government. “His
pronouncements are proof that the Philippine government commits red- and
terrorist-tagging of organizations, and that it continues the
stigmatization of human rights defenders and our organizations,” she said.

Karapatan along with other organizations comprising the Philippine UPR
Watch network, which monitored the UPR in Geneva, Switzerland, will
conduct a report-back session before International Human Rights Day.


Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General +639173162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, +639189790580