‘Misleading’: Group assails PHL’s rights report at UN

May. 09, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Philippines UPR Watch assailed on Tuesday the report submitted by the government for the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights of the country on May 8 in Geneva.

The group branded the government’s report as “misleading” because it does not reflect the realities happening on the ground. The Philippine UPR Watch said the report “glosses over the numerous extra-judicial killings that have continued with impunity since the first cycle of review in 2008.”

The watchdog pointed out that the tandem of the government’s bloody war on illegal drugs and its counter-insurgency programs “Oplan Bayanihan” of the Aquino administration and “Oplan Kapayapaan” of the Duterte administration resulted to the killings, torture and disappearances of individuals perceived to be critical of the government.

“Rights abuses remain unabated due to continuing repressive State policies and counter-insurgency programs and the socio-economic and political ills that plague the country. These violations are state-sponsored, systemic and have affected a great majority of the Philippine population,” the watchdog said in a statement.

For the period under review which is under the Aquino administration, extrajudicial killings stood at 249, torture is at 244, enforced disappearances is at 17 and victims of forced evacuation due to the government’s counter-insurgency program stood at 103, 337. While under the Duterte administration, military and paramilitary forces killed 55 individuals, according to Philippine UPR Watch, citing data from human rights group Karapatan.

The unabated and notorious killings in the Philippines prompted the New York-based Human Rights Watch to call the United Nations member countries to denounce the government’s brutal “war on drugs” which already claimed more than 7, 000 lives since Duterte assumed the presidency in June last year.

“The Philippines is facing a growing chorus of international concern at the human cost of President Duterte’s murderous ‘war on drugs,’” said John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch.

HRW’s Fisher said that countries from every UN region expressed concern over the deaths in the Philippines in connection with the government’s drug war, with many calling for probes into the killings, and accountability from perpetrators.

“The government’s denial and deflection of criticism shows it has no intention of complying with its international obligations. The Human Rights Council should establish an international inquiry and, if killings without accountability continue, reconsider the Philippines’ council membership,” he said. (davaotoday.com)

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