Be wary in concluding vs. PH human rights situation: Guevarra

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra appealed to the international community to take great care against concluding that certain human rights situation in the Philippines is “systemic” or cases “emblematic”.


Speaking via video participation during the Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the Philippines of the United Nations 44th Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, Switzerland on June 30, Guevarra said concerned delegations can consult the Philippine Human Rights Situationer, an official document of meeting, that contains how the government exhaustively addressed specific human rights cases.


“Certain so-called “emblematic” cases have been cited and selectively used to make hasty conclusions about the situation of civic space, press freedom, and judicial independence. There are self-contradictions in these kinds of argument(s),” he added in his concluding remarks.


He lamented that while the international community upholds the independence of the judiciary, and welcomes the Court’s decisions on many cases such as the conviction of 53 public officials involved in the Maguindanao massacre, the latter “regrettably entertains allegations of the Court’s partiality on processes and decisions in specific cases.


“Logic should be consistent on the principle of the equal application of the law, and in making judgments about the independence of the judiciary and the outcomes of judicial processes,” he said.


He added that the Philippine government supports and encourages discourse grounded on facts and a diligent assessment of the merits of each case.


Global Terrorism Index


“There should be no moral ambiguity in looking at efforts to strengthen anti-terrorism legislation; as it is the State’s duty to address, within the bounds of the law, all threats and challenges to the security and safety of our communities,” he said, adding that the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has consistently ranked the Philippines among countries most impacted by terrorism.


The Philippines ranks 9th in the 2019 GTI, a comprehensive study analyzing the impact of terrorism for 163 countries that covers 99.7 percent of the world’s population.


The GTI report released by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) on November 26, 2019, showed that the top 10 countries accounted for 87 percent of deaths from terrorism in 2018.


“In the Philippine situation, where the option of righting every possible wrong evidently and vigorously exists, there is no reasonable basis to allege impunity or lack of accountability for human rights violations,” he said.


Guevarra, on the other hand, said the Philippine government is heartened by the wide acknowledgment from other States of the government’s good governance agenda and national accountability efforts, as well as encouragement for constructive ways forward.


“This manifests the desire of the majority to support effective human rights mechanisms, and a Council that bases its discussions and actions on facts and promotes genuine dialogue with concerned countries,” he said.


He assured that the Philippine government underscores its resolve to strengthen national efforts to safeguard our vast and robust civil society and media space, strengthen the administration of justice, and address all claims and allegations case by case in a transparent and inclusive manner.


“At the same time, we highlight our commitment to continue to contribute to collective efforts aimed at enhancing and upholding the integrity and objectivity of the Council and its processes and mechanisms, to ensure that its work leads only to transformative and enduring impact on the ground,” he said.



Source: Philippines News Agency

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