Filipino migrants asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCRC) to look into extrajudicial killings in the country, accusing the Rodrigo Duterte government of committing “gross human rights violations committed against Filipino migrants.”
Migrante International submitted its Global Petition of Filipino Migrants UNHCRC Tuesday in support to the call of 11 UN Special Rapporteurs for an independent investigation into the increasing rights violations in the Philippines.
Migrante cited government neglect of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the rampant extrajudicial killings in the country in its petition, also posted on the online petition platform change.org since last week.
Filipino migrants and families are not spared from extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations perpetrated by government forces, the group said.
Migrante recalled the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos in August 2017 by police operatives who collared the youngster, dragged him across a dark alley and summarily killed. The victim was the son of a Saudi-based domestic worker.
In August 2018, Manila police officers mugged OFW Allan Rafael and detained him until he died under police custody.
Rafael, a cancer patient, was arrested by the police on suspicion of being a drug addict based on his pale appearance, his family alleges. He was undergoing chemotherapy when accosted by the police.
Migrante’s petition likewise accused the government of sending cheap Filipino labor abroad instead of creating enough domestic jobs to end forced migration.
“Through the Duterte regime’s labor export program, the government has been imposing unjust state exactions as its way of subjecting OFWs to legalized robbery. A Filipino migrant worker already wallows in debt even before she is deployed overseas and whenever they get mistreated abroad, they are often left neglected or coerced by government agencies to keep silent and relinquish their demands for justice,” Migrante International chairperson Joanna Concepcion said.
In its petition, Migrante also cited the case of 81 Filipino migrants currently on death rows as well as the numerous cases of unsolved deaths and detention of migrant Filipinos abroad.
The Philippine government is facing mounting international pressure on widespread reports of continuing extrajudicial killings related to Duterte’s so-called anti-drug war.
Last Thursday, Iceland issued a draft resolution signed by 28 UN-member states asking the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to impose concrete actions on the killings.
Members of the Philippines’ official delegation to the 41st UNHRC meeting in Geneva, Switzerland reportedly walked out of the meeting in protest to suggestions that an official and impartial investigation be conducted in the Philippines.
Varied estimates from 6,000 to 30,000 victims killed have been reported by local and international groups.
“My only sin are the extrajudicial killings,” Duterte confessed at a gathering in the Presidential palace in September 2018.
In a speech in Malacañan last Monday, Duterte also said he prefers to be tried on his human rights record than being accused of corruption.
“Well, extrajudicial killing is ok but not corruption,” Duterte said during the oath-taking of government officials at the Palace.
Human rights groups said that Duterte’s admissions add weight to the preliminary investigations conducted by the International Criminal Court last year.
“We demand an end to the violation of our collective human rights and hold the Duterte government accountable. We urgently plead with the United Nations Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation into the human rights violations committed by the Philippine Duterte government,” Migrante’s petition said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)