DAVAO CITY, Philippines— The Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch is calling to remove the country as member of the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) because of the government’s continued denial of the extra-judicial killings across the country.
“Throughout the three cycles of the Universal Periodic Review, and most especially during the Duterte regime’s participation in the process, the Philippines has exhibited a total mockery of international human rights mechanisms,” the group said in a statement Sunday, October 1.
The Philippine UPR Watch accused the Duterte administration of “blatant distortion of facts on extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in the country”.
The group’s statement came after its participation in the UNHCR sessions in Geneva, Switzerland on September 18-29
The UPR is a review of human rights records of all UN Member States. The country’s delegation is composed of victims of human rights violations, human rights defenders and ecumenical leaders.
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Secretary General Atty. Ephraim Cortez, who heads the delegation, said the government “continues its hardheaded position against any UN investigation on the killings.”
The government earlier rejected UNHRC’s recommendations, including the visit of UN special rapporteur to investigate the drug-related killings in the country.
Cortez hit the statements of Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano at the UPR, saying they “have all painted a rosy picture of the human rights situation in the Philippines.”
The group also noted that the situation on the ground is getting “worse with the drug war, the martial law in Mindanao and the continuing implementation of counter-insurgency programs.”
While the Palace welcomed welcomed the Philippine UPR Watch’s statement, Abella on Monday said the group, whom he branded as “self-styled watchdogs”, should “balance their call.”
“We respect the rights of all, including the extremely critical, to freely express their opinion of the government,” he said.(davaotoday.com)