Human rights organizations, churches and sectoral organizations announced their submission of written reports to United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNCHR) Michelle Bachelet in Geneva, Switzerland Friday, January 31, detailing various forms of violations by the Rodrigo Duterte government.
At least sixteen organizations under the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice) also urged the United Nations Human Rights Committee to pass a resolution to investigate further the killings and threats of activists, churchpeople, teachers, indigenous peoples, lawyers, the political opposition, journalists, environment defenders and other sectors.
The submissions is in accordance the Iceland-led resolution on the Philippines adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in July 2019.
In a press conference in Quezon City, EcuVoice convenor Edita Burgos said that the reports they submitted depict the worsening human rights crisis besetting the Filipino people.
“The extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary or illegal arrests and detention and other civil and political rights violations exacerbate the landlessness, lack of job security, and gross inequalities faced by poor Filipinos. Such is the situation under the administration of President Duterte,” Burgos said.
The EcuVoice network mobilised for the submission of reports of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines, National Union of People’s Lawyers, Karapatan, Rise Up for Life and for Rights, Save Our Schools Movement, Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN), Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples (TFIP), SANDUGO Kilusan ng mga Moro at Katutubong Mamamayan para sa Sariling Pagpapasya (Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-determination), Makabayan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Kalikasan People’s Network, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Migrante, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Ibon Foundation.
EcuVoice members also provided key inputs in the submissions by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, World Council of Churches of the Philippines, the Center for Human Rights of the City University of New York and International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
Several of the submissions outlined socio-economic and political situations of the Filipino people they say are marked by intensified poverty, violations on security of employment, high prices of basic commodities and services, and the continuing plunder of land and resources including that of ancestral domains in their submissions.
Organizations also focused on the Duterte government’s “war on drugs,” as well as “further shrinking of civil and democratic spaces,” including violations on the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and to form and join associations.
“The Duterte administration’s anti-narcotics campaign, its counter-insurgency program through Oplan Kapanatagan and its ‘whole of nation attacks’ under Executive Order No. 70, and its rampage against critics and political dissenters have immensely contributed to the hyper state of impunity,” Burgos said.
EcuVoice said that this year, aside from this process at the UN HRC, the Duterte administration is set to be reviewed before the treaty body UN Human Rights Committee.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is likewise set to release results of its preliminary examination on complaints regarding crimes against humanity, the group said.
“We reiterate our call to the international community to help us make the Duterte administration accountable for its rights violations,” Burgos said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)