MANILA, Philippines – Some 69 countries questioned the Philippine government on its human rights record before a United Nations meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, according to the Philippine-UPR Watch.
The Philippines is one of the countries that participated in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Philippine UPR Watch said at least 22 countries expressed concerns on the continuing spate of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture in particular and impunity in general.
“We view the questions and statements of continuing concern by the different foreign missions as very telling. It shows even greater interest by the international community on the human rights situation. They know that the Philippine government has not lived up to its commitment to completely eliminate extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture. The language used may have been diplomatic, but clearly the international community want the Philippine government to do more,” said Fr. Jonash Joyohoy of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and co-head of delegation of the Philippine UPR Watch.
Several countries called on the Philippine government to dismantle all paramilitary groups and militias.
The Australian mission asked the Philippine government to arrest fugitive general Jovito Palparan wanted for the abduction of two activists.
The United States said that “impunity in human rights violations” continued citing that institutional barriers to the attainment of justice for victims of rights abuse.
Ireland called for “decisive measures” to address the problems while Germany urged the strengthening of accountability mechanisms and the conduct of impartial investigations in cases involving state forces.
Spain and Canada called for the dismantling of all paramilitary groups a position that has gained support after the Maguindanao massacre in 2009, with the latter saying that despite training programs on human rights for security forces, human rights violations are “still serious and all too widespread.”
The questions and comments from the foreign missions were directed to the GPH delegation headed by Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
At least six countries meanwhile asked the Philippines to act on requests of UN special rapporteurs who want to visit the Philippines to examine the rights situation in the country.
De Lima said that they are still studying the requests adding the Philippine government cannot act on all requests because of alleged shortage in resources.
Present during the session were two Filipino human rights victims, Fil-Am activist Melissa Roxas and Aklan municipal councilor Ernan Baldomero, son of slain councilor Fernando Baldomero, the first alleged victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration.
Leaders from Karapatan, NCCP, Tanggol Bayi, NUPL, Bayan, KAMP, MCPA-Kawagib, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Defend Job Philippines, Migrante, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Promotion of Church People’s Response, IFI-Ramento Project for Rights Defenders, Migrante International, International Coordinating Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) and Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines-United Kingdom and CHRP-Switzerland also attended the session.
Prior to the start of the session, the UPR Watch delegates flashed their I-Pads bearing calls to end extrajudicial killings and impunity in the Philippines.
Source: Yahoo News