The Philippines: 39 States Express Serious Concern over the Philippines’ Lack of Commitment to Human Rights
28 September 2017 4:58 pm

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(Bangkok/Geneva, 28 September 2017) – Through a joint statement delivered by Iceland on Thursday, 39 States[1] said that the human rights situation in the Philippines continues to be of serious concern, particularly in light of the thousands of killings and impunity associated with the ‘war on drugs’. The States called on the Philippines “to cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with the universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law”.

The States also expressed concern over threats against human rights defenders and called upon the Government to “ensure they are accorded full protection.” They also called for a safe environment for human rights defenders, as well as journalists and indigenous communities.

The joint statement comes at the 36th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in which the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines was adopted. The Government did not fully accept 154 of the 257 recommendations it received from States during the Philippines UPR in May.[2] The statement, with an increase in the number of signatories, is also a follow up to a joint statement supported by 32 States at the 35 th session of the UN Human Rights Council in June.[3] “The Philippine Government’s failure to fully accept and implement nearly 60 per cent of the recommendations it received during its UPR is deeply concerning – especially given that this includes most of the recommendations by over 40 States[4] on the Government’s so-called ‘war on drugs’ ,” says R.Iniyan Ilango of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). “Clearly, this failure to cooperate merits concerted action from the UN Human Rights Council.”

“We appreciate the international solidarity against the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines, especially at a time when human rights defenders are vilified and threatened for the work that we do,” says Ellecer Carlos of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND). “Urgent action is needed as the ‘war on drugs’ has been compounded with threats to freedom of expression and political freedoms.”

“We welcome joint statements, as well as national statements, on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council, which highlight that the international community is paying close attention to the human rights situation in the country,” says John Samuel, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA. “However, these are only the first steps in pressuring the Philippine Government to comply with its international human rights commitments. If the situation in the country does not improve, the UN Human Rights Council must pass a resolution at its next session in March, establishing an international, independent investigation into killings associated with the ‘war on drugs’.”

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For a PDF version of this statement, click here.

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[1]1. Australia 2. Austria 3. Belgium 4. Bulgaria 5. Canada 6. Croatia 7. Cyprus 8. Czech Republic 9. Denmark 10. Estonia 11. Finland 12. France 13. Georgia 14. Germany 15. Greece 16. Iceland 17. Ireland 18. Italy 19. Latvia 20. Liechtenstein 21. Lithuania 22. Luxembourg 23. Macedonia 24. Malta 25. Moldova 26. Montenegro 27. Norway 28. Poland 29. Portugal 30. Romania 31. Slovakia 32. Slovenia 33. Spain 34. Sweden 35. Switzerland 36. The Netherlands 37. UK 38. Ukraine 39. United States
[2]https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=24852
[3]https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=24194
[4]https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=23805