UNHRC assistance to PH ‘very much appreciated’: Palace

Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) resolution which calls for a “technical assistance” to the Philippines’s efforts to further strengthen its human rights and accountability mechanisms.


The resolution, adopted by the UNHRC on Wednesday, requests the office of UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to provide support to the Philippine government in its “continued fulfillment of its international human rights obligations and commitments.”


It also urges member states and relevant UN agencies to “encourage and support technical cooperation between the Philippine government and OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights).”


“We are thankful for the UN Human Rights Council. Tama po naman iyong kanilang ginawang resolution (The resolution they made is correct),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.


The resolution was introduced by the Philippines, India, Nepal and non-member states Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Thailand, and Turkey.


The 47-member intergovernmental body adopted unanimously a decision that recognizes the Philippines domestic institutions’ accountability to address cases of human rights violations alleged by activists and interest groups.


“Ito pong latest resolution ng UN Human Rights Council, nagbibigay ng technical assistance sa atin is (This latest resolution of the UN Human Rights Council giving technical aid to us) is very much appreciated,” Roque said.


Roque said the resolution is proof that the UNHRC believes that the country’s criminal justice system is functional.


“Iyan po ay nagpapakita na nagtitiwala pa rin ang UN Human Rights Council sa mga institusyon para mapanagot po ang mga lumalabag sa karapatang pantao ng ating mga kababayan (That shows that the UN Human Rights Council trusts in the institutions to persecute those who violate the human rights of our citizens),” he said.


He said the national government will “fully cooperate” with the UNHRC in promoting and protecting human rights in the Philippines, admitting that the government is “not perfect.”


“We will fully cooperate po with the UN Human Rights system, dahil iyan naman po ang gusto natin. We are not saying, we are perfect, kaya nga kung gusto ninyo, huwag na ninyo kaming pulaan, tulungan na lang ninyo kami (because that’s what we want. We are not saying, we are perfect, that’s why if you want, don’t criticize us, help us instead),” he said.


According to Roque, this was a welcome development compared to criticism made by the opposition without providing any solutions to the problem.


“We always welcome cooperation. Ang ayaw lang po ng Presidente iyong pula nang pula, wala namang solusyon ‘no at ito po ay nanggagaling pa doon sa kakilalang kalaban ng ating gobyerno (The President just doesn’t like criticism from the opposition without offering solutions). So, we always welcome cooperation with the United Nations on a very important topic such as human rights,” he said.


In a speech before the UN General Assembly, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed readiness to engage in dialogue and constructive engagement with the United Nations on matters concerning human rights.


Duterte, however, said this dialogue should be done “in full respect of the principles of objectivity, noninterference, non-selectivity, and genuine dialogue.”


A total of 40 states put their names behind the resolution, as its co-sponsors, namely the Philippines, Iceland, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, and Liechtenstein.


Others include Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and Turkey.


More countries are expected to register as co-sponsors until Oct. 21, 2020.


The UNHRC “recognizes” government initiatives to review and reevaluate the extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations under the crackdown on illegal drugs.


The resolution also noted that government’s “announcement of the creation of a review panel that would reevaluate cases where deaths that occurred during operations under the anti-illegal drugs campaign.”


The Council’s adoption of the resolution represents a significant reversal of a narrow and contentious decision reached in July 2019 that called for the High Commissioner to report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, on the basis of unverified and sweeping allegations on extra-judicial killings.


That decision was adopted after contentious voting, with 18 yes votes, with the rest of the 47-member Council voting No or abstaining. The Philippines rejected the resolution, citing that it was an abuse of Council processes and it ignored facts and realities on the ground.


Source: Philippines News Agency

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