“I am here to seek justice for my son.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – There is no stopping the quest for justice as Marissa Lazaro joined other human rights defenders who are set to participate in the ongoing 42nd United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Lazaro lost her 20-year-old son, Christopher due to President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs in August 2017. The police alleged that Christopher was a robber and drug suspect. Lazaro vowed to expose Duterte’s so-called war on drugs in all platforms.
“I am here to seek justice for my son,” said Lazaro in a statement.
“I will sound the alarm in all platforms, from national to international redress mechanisms, to expose that the President’s drug war is a sham and that he and his henchmen are seasoned murderers and liars,” she added.
Lazaro is part of the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (Ecuvoice’s) delegation composed of eleven human rights defenders, faith leaders, and relatives of victims in Duterte’s drug war.
The delegation will also seek to provide testimonies in support of the report-making process of UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet on the comprehensive human rights situation in the Philippines. The said comprehensive report is part of the key points of the UN HRC resolution adopted during the UNHRC’s 41st session in July.
Meanwhile, Ecuvoice reacted to the recent statement of Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. who said that he will not allow the independent investigation by the UNHRC in the Philippines and that the resolution is made out of bad faith and disinformation.
This is a standard government reply, said Karapatan secretary general Crisina Palabay. “We are accused of disinformation but we are not the ones cowering behind presumptuous words and shallow insults,” she added.
She said human rights organizations confidently stand by the evidence and testimonies from victims of human rights violations and their families.
On the other hand, Palabay said, the government continues to present “conflicting data, embargoes relevant and crucial information, hides behind the copy-paste ‘nanlaban’ narrative, and threatens those who ask questions and demand investigations. In this platform, we are bringing forward the cases of our fellow human rights defenders who are facing judicial harassment, red-tagging and reprisals. Our delegation will substantiate the very real and dangerous political climate and shrinking civic space in the country.”
The delegation is also expected to provide oral interventions on the reports of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and of the UN Assistant Secretary General, conduct side events and meet with diplomatic missions, international rights groups and the Filipino migrant community.