QUEZON CITY—The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) urged the current administration to address the recommendations of the 95 United Nations (UN) member states on the human rights situation in the country voiced out during the 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We belong to the international community. We are answerable to whatever happens in the Philippines, specifically to the human rights situation on the ground,” said CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit during an interview.
“We are accountable, especially the government, because they are in-charge of implementing the laws and policies of the land.”
Majority of the concrete recommendations from member states were on concerns over cases of extrajudicial execution related to the government’s campaign against drugs; preventing the reimposition of the death penalty; and the protection of children’s rights, including lowering the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility, among others. These are recommendations that the Philippine government, as a party to the process, need to act on.
“The UPR is an affirmation of the things that we have expressed concern many months ago, but have been brushed aside. More than anything, the UPR is an affirmation of the recognition of the serious problems that we have, particularly when it comes to the methods, and the result of the government’s campaign against drugs,” Gomez Dumpit added.
The Commission hopes that this process opens the opportunities for constructive engagement, particularly with the Philippine National Police and the rest of the security sector, as duty bearers in the protecting and promoting human rights in the country.
Speaking on addressing the culture of impunity, Gomez Dumpit assured that the CHR is willing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of cases. “We would like to see the names behind the numbers, the cases filed behind the numbers.”
“We hope that they also cooperate fully by furnishing us copies of complete SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operatives), autopsy, on the spot, and other reports that we also need to further conduct independent investigations.”
The UPR is a process reviewing the human rights situation of all 193 UN Member States. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve human rights in their countries, and what challenges should be overcome to achieve the fulfillment of human rights.
The review process is composed of three parts: first, the national report, which the Philippines presented on May 8 in Geneva; second, the consolidated report from independent human rights experts and groups, known as Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities; and third, information from other stakeholders, such as non-governmental organizations, and national human rights institutions, namely the country’s Commission on Human Rights as in the case of the Philippines.
“Come July, the government must respond whether they would accept, reject, or subject to further study some recommendations. On September, the Human Rights Council will adopt the working group report on the Philippines. That is the time that civil society groups, including the Commission on Human Rights, would have time to speak and comment about the report,” Gomez Dumpit explained.
The Philippines is among the founding members of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006.
“It also boils down to our credibility. We have to show that we are a responsible State party to our International Conventions.”
“The repercussions is real when we talk about reputation and credibility of the country. Credibility goes a long way in terms of trade relations, bilateral relations, and even multilateral relations. When we talk about credibility, we talk about security in our country; trade will affected, tourism will be affected, business will also be affected,” Gomez Dumpit stressed.
Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia
Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Communication Office
Telephone No: (02) 928-5792 / 09175919833
Email address: email@example.com .