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Human rights review

As calls mount for the United Nations Human Rights Council to pass a resolution ensuring continued scrutiny of the human rights situation in the Philippines, the Department of Justice told the UNHRC in session to understand the challenges the country faces and trust that its government “knows best.”

“What we ask of you, the Human Rights Council and its partners, is to listen to us, to understand the context of our challenges – beside us on the ground, not above us from afar. To trust that we know best what is good for our people and to work with us to realize the vision of human rights and justice for all,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in his address before the 51st UNHRC session.

While Remulla and the Philippine delegation sit down and meet UNHRC officials and highlight the government’s reforms and efforts to strengthen human rights mechanisms, human rights watchdogs – including Human Rights Watch – continue to call on the UNHRC to take action on the country’s human rights situation.

In a statement, HRW’s Geneva office director Lucy McKernan accused the UNHRC of “dealing a devastating blow” to the victims of human rights violations in the Philippines due to its failure to pass a resolution that ensures continued scrutiny of the domestic human rights situation in the country.

The 2020 Human Rights Council resolution on the Philippines required the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to monitor and report on the Philippines rights situation through 2022.

Other representatives from the Philippines also delivered oral statements in the session where they repeated the continuous summary drug killings, harassment and arrest of critics and journalists, as well as red-tagging perpetrated by government officials themselves.

It seems that everybody but our own government can see how the human rights situation in the country has been continuously degrading over the years, and how much needs to be done to point it back in the right direction that will put us back on track with the proper definition of universal human rights that the rest of the world aspires for humanity.

A government that has allowed the human rights situation to become this bad cannot simply claim to “know best” when it has not yet even met the bare minimum standards that is expected from its peers.*

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January 2023
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