Human rights record open for scrutiny, PH tells UNHRC
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Philippine government on Tuesday told the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) it is ready to have its human rights record scrutinized but reiterated its appeal to get all sides, and not just the critics who, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), have “politicized and even weaponized the issue.”
During the High Level Segment of the 37th Session of the UNHRC, DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano stressed the government has always cooperated with the institution. This after the country had been called upon to cooperate with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council.
“Constructive engagement in a multilateral context is badly needed in our world today,” Cayetano said. “We need to engage and act and not merely name and shame.”
The Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs has been frowned upon by some international organizations.
In his remark, Cayetano underscored that President Rodrigo R. Duterte launched the campaign “to save lives, to preserve families, to protect communities and stop the country from sliding into a narco state.”
“As a sovereign nation, we deserve respect and even support for our right to life and liberty, our sovereign right to self determination, to make our people safe and secure from all threats, terrorism, corruption and criminality,” he said.
On calls for the Philippines to submit itself to investigation, Cayetano said Manila is prepared but noted it is imperative that all UN special rapporteurs strictly observe the special procedures, code of conduct, and methods of work and avoid politicizing the issue.
“When she culls evidence only for what might support her prejudgment, he or she loses the moral high ground and is stripped of any credibility. All we ask for is fairness,” he said.
Referring to Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Execution and Extrajudicial Killing assigned to probe the anti-illegal drug program, Cayetano asked the UN not to send someone who had already prejudged the administration.
“There are 7.5 billion people in the world; send anyone except one who has already prejudged us, and who, by any measure, cannot be considered independent and more so, objective,” he said.
“How will the honorable members of this Council convince countries to work with it if there is a perception of prejudice and prejudgment?” he asked. (PNA)