[Press Release] Human Rights Defenders to Government: Comply with UPR Recommendations -iDEFEND


Photo by AFAD

Quezon City- Human rights advocates today held a press conference to report on the events at the recently concluded UN Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. The UPR’s report on the Philippines has been received by the government, which has until September to respond formally to the body. In the interactive dialogue of the review, 95 delegations made statements following the presentation of the Philippine delegation. Most of them  focused on the need to put an end to, and investigate, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, torture, human trafficking, and to stop efforts at reintroducing capital punishment and lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility. Recommendations also urged the government to allow the Special Rapporteur to conduct her investigation into the summary killings without conditions.

iDEFEND and PAHRA sent a team to Geneva to participate in UPR side events organized with regional and international NGO networks, as well as to conduct dialogues, public action and networking in conjunction with the UPR.

“As expected, government presented before the UPR a report blatantly denying state responsibility for more than 8,000 deaths under the war on drugs or that a surge of extrajudicial killings is happening. Government blamed media for exaggerating the number of deaths, the Special Rapporteur for being biased, and the Commission on Human Rights for changing the definition of extrajudicial killing” noted Ms. Nilda Sevilla, Chairperson of FIND (Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances).

“What was made clear in the UPR is that the government could not fool the international human rights community, and its attempts to justify the war on drugs failed to change the tone of the dialogue that followed”, said Mr. Ellecer Carlos, spokesperson of iDEFEND (In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement). “By ‘sticking to its guns’, the government wasted an opportunity for productive interaction with the Human Rights Council towards a more realistic and effective approach to the drugs issue in the country,” he added.

“President Duterte’s appointment of Senator Cayetano to the DFA despite his failed UPR performance to turn international opinion favorably towards the war on drugs and extrajudicial killings, indicate the policy direction of the administration to deploy EJK apologists and fake fact-mongers worldwide,” said Rose Trajano, Secretary General of PAHRA (Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates). “This may seriously undermine the work for justice and anti-impunity in the country”, she added.

The group called on the public to speak out and urge government to comply with the UPR recommendations. They urged relatives of victims of the war on drugs to come forward and tell their stories.

“Marcos victims and relatives of victims of Martial Law are now receiving compensation due to the horrors they faced. The awarding acknowledged the responsibility of the State in their suffering although no payment could completely compensate for their loss. We believe in the future victims of the war on drugs may be able to be acknowledged in the same way—as victims of human rights atrocities by the Duterte administration” shared Mr. Egay Cabalitan, campaign officer of TFDP (Task Force Detainees of the Philippines)

For more information please contact:
Ellecer Carlos, iDEFEND Spokesperson 09176494065
Rose Trajano, PAHRA Secretary General 09173082409

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