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Philippines does not belong to UNHRC - iDEFEND

The Philippines (Government) does not belong in the UN Human Rights Council and its membership must be rescinded or suspended for miserably failing to uphold human rights standards. The UN Human Rights Council should hold the GRP accountable to standards expected of members.

The Duterte administration continues to consciously and deliberately sustain the de facto social cleansing policy (War on Drugs) which results in the mass EJKs and the multi-fold human rights crisis which continue at the same rate. The Duterte administration continues to shield police officers and death squads from litigation and forces them to be more violent through forced quotas and reward systems. Duterte has vowed to slaughter thousands and continues to slaughter into the thousands.

Besides the Human Rights Calamity in the context of the War on Drugs, the crackdown on human rights defenders, political, social, environmental, land rights and indigenous peoples activists has been resulting in wholesale human rights violations including EJKs, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture. Another ugly head of the Duterte undeclared dictatorship is beginning to rear itself. Massive human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Mindanao which has been under Martial law since last year are starting to surface. The international community has been witness to Duterte waging a war on the poor, on the Rule of Law, on human rights and democracy.

The Duterte administration has also clearly been consolidating and advancing authoritarian rule, silencing all dissent and opposition and rendering Philippine democratic institutions ineffective.

To avoid accountability, Pres. Duterte attacked the very heart of the UN Human Rights System, verbally assaulting the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, members of the UNHRC Special procedures SR on EJEs and SR on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the SR on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He also lodged attacks on the ICC prosecutor and foreign individuals who raised concerns about the mass human rights violations.

This was all done when the GRP was not just a member of the UNHRC but a Vice President of the body. The Philippine Government, simply put has not upheld the standards required of a UN Human Rights Council member. The GRP continues to refuse to cooperate with UN Special Procedures and mechanisms.

The Philippine Government should not be rewarded for what it has been doing but reprimanded and sanctioned. The GRP’s renewed membership in the UNHRC is overall detrimental to the Philippine human rights cause, our objectives to stop the Human Rights Crisis/the mass EJKs and prevent the resurgence of dictatorship. The GRP’s UNHRC membership only enables and emboldens President Duterte. This for us, is also part of the global stepping back for human rights.

The UNHRC memberships of the Philippines and other countries which continue to commit human rights atrocities has a severe impact on the UN Human Rights System as a whole. There is that matter of ‘seepage’ or the ‘breaking of taboos’. The War on Drugs EJK methods in the Philippines has been spilling over in other parts of the world, Sir Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia. By not taking any practical action on the Philippines (e.g., disallowing its UNHRC membership due to its massive violations) what message is the international community sending to would-be despots around the world who also want to make human life cheap and establish dictatorships? This event has clearly affected the integrity of the UN Human Rights System and reinforced those attacking human rights ideals and values all around the world.

The GRP won its re-election bid simply because not enough candidates ran, thus due to an absence of competition. It regained its seat during the 12 October elections due to a ‘clean slate’, not because of merit or upholding human rights standards. In short, it was practically assured a seat in the body. The Philippine Government clearly intends to make use of its renewed seat as a ‘whitewash’ and vantage point for defense and influence tool as it continues to pursue its kill programs in the Philippines.