Karapatan welcomes the statement of UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the human rights situation in the Philippines, as she highlighted the urgent need to stop the killings and attacks in line with the drug war and against human rights defenders in the country. 

We call on the Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to heed the appeal of the UN special rapporteurs and that of the victims of human rights violations and their relatives in the Philippines for an independent investigation into the spiralling human rights situation in the country. Such international human rights mechanisms are available venues for redress and accountability for the victims, and any rejection of such measures can only mean an outright disregard of human rights principles. 

Excerpts from the Opening statement by UN High Commissioner for Human RightsMichelle Bachelet at the 41st UN Human Rights Council

“My Office is following the situation of human rights in the Philippines very closely. The extraordinarily high number of deaths – and persistent reports of extrajudicial killings – in the context of campaigns against drug use continue. Even the officially confirmed number of 5425 deaths would be a matter of most serious concern for any country. I welcome the recent statement by Special Rapporteurs calling for action by the Council. There should also be comprehensive and transparent information from the authorities on the circumstances around the deaths, and investigations related to allegations of violations. These could dispel any false allegations and help regain trust for the authorities.

Human rights defenders, including activists for land rights and the rights of indigenous peoples; journalists; lawyers; members of the Catholic clergy; and others who have spoken out – notably the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples – have received threats, sometimes publicly, from senior Government officials. This creates a very real risk of violence against them, and undermines rule of law, as well as the right to freedom of expression.”

Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images 

KARAPATAN
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. Karapatan Public Information Desk: +639189790580 | publicinfo@karapatan.org