“We hope that the member states and non-member states will support this resolution because this is just one of many initiatives that will address these heinous extrajudicial killings.”
By SHEERAH ESCUDERO and ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) would be voting for the draft resolution of Iceland on July 12. Human rights groups are hopeful that the council will vote in favor of the resolution.
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said that supporting the draft resolution would mean support to the thousands of families whose loved ones were killed by the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and counterinsurgency program.
The draft resolution of Iceland seeks investigation to the reported human rights abuses in the Philippines.
“We hope that the member states and non-member states will support this resolution because this is just one of many initiatives that will address these heinous extrajudicial killings,” said Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in a press conference held Wednesday, July 10.
‘Is justice system in the Philippines working?’
Groups under the Philippines Universal Periodic Review Watch went to Geneva last week to lobby and address to the UN-member states the human rights situation in the Philippines.
Olalia said that the Philippine officials in the UN are also doing the rounds in talking with other member states trying to refute reports of the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.
Their narrative, according to Olalia, is that the justice system in the Philippines is working.
But for Olalia, the killings in government’s campaign against illegal drugs would not reach thousands if indeed the justice system is working.
He said that the five cases of drug-related killings that the NUPL is handling is not even moving since these were filed in courts. In the thousands of cases that the Philippine National Police is handling, he said, not a single suspect was convicted. Most importantly, he said, there would be no extrajudicial killings.
“If it’s [justice system] working, how come they have to resort to note the term ‘extra judicial’, in other words, they do not apply the judicial process,” he said.
The Duterte administration also should not prevent the international body to investigate the escalating human rights abuses in the country. Olalia said the Philippines, being a member state of the UNHRC, and a signatory to Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements protecting human rights should welcome investigation to prove their claims.
“This investigation is also consonant with our commitment,” Olalia said.
However, the government is adamant against inviting UN to investigate the escalating number of human rights abuses in the country.
Palabay said mothers from Rise Up for Life and for Rights felt the solidarity in Iceland’s resolution.
“One mother said they felt that are citizens, not only in the Philippines but also in the whole world. It provided them some sort of solidarity regarding their plight,” she said.
At least 28 states have so far showed support to Iceland’s resolution. The UNHRC has 47 member states.
“If the government of the Philippines is truthful to its people, it will be open and courageous enough on the investigation. This is a big step to give justice thousands of victims,” said Reverend Irma Balaba of National Council of Churches of the Philippines.