Duterte admin hit over anti-UN stance
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice) delegation to the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council at Palais des Nations in Geneva on Friday slammed the Duterte administration for questioning and going against the recommendations of UN experts.
In a statement, EcuVoice head, Edre Olalia, called the Duterte administration defensive, since it is reacting violently to well-intentioned suggestions from UN special rapporteurs.
“The government acts so defensively at well-intentioned reports that it reacts so vociferously, violently even, to general recommendations that are not particularly directed at the Philippines. Such defensiveness often betrays guilt,” Olalia said.
Olalia in particular said the Philippine mission “reacted impertinently” to the statements made by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
According to Olalia, the government challenged the concerns raised by Aoláin and said that her suggestions “merit a more serious thought and debate, to ask in particular, if these concerns can hold their weight against realities on the ground.”
Indication of guilt
In her report, Aoláin concluded that many violent extremism prevention programs worldwide were directly contributing to human rights violations. She added that such extreme reactions could even foster radicalization instead of preventing it.
Aoláin then recommended that the UN review its entire counterterrorism architecture to better protect human rights and the rule of law.
Olalia pointed out that said recommendations were not even addressed to the Philippines in particular, but the Duterte government’s defensiveness was an indication of guilt.
“Because the entire world now sees the many thousands of dead bodies on Philippine streets killed by the so-called war against illegal drugs and disapproves official hate speech and reprisals against critics and dissenters, it is apparent that the Duterte administration has chosen that the best defense is an offense in the UN,” Olalia said.
In his speech before the UN Human Rights Council, Olalia also enjoined UN member states to closely monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines, particularly lawyers like himself.
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