PH rights summit a mere deodorizer for violations — int'l rights group | Inquirer News

PH rights summit a mere deodorizer for violations — int’l rights group

/ 07:00 PM December 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s first ever Human Rights Summit is a mere attempt to deodorize numerous rights violations that occurred in the country, an international rights group claimed.

According to the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), it is ironic to think that the three-day summit convened by the Department of Justice (DOJ) occurred in the same week when alleged abuses were done against activists.


“We find it ironic that arrests and rights violations continue in the same week that Philippine government launches a human rights summit,” ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy said on Thursday.

“It is clear that this platform is nothing but an extravagant deodorizer aimed at exonerating the state-sanctioned perpetrators from their crimes,” he added.


ICHRP was referring to the arrest of peasant leader Amanda Echanis, daughter of slain peace consultant and Anakbayan chair Randall Echanis.

“Last December 2, a land rights defender Amanda Echanis was illegally arrested and planted with guns and explosives by Philippine authorities in Cagayan, north of the country’s capital. Amanda is also the daughter of peace activist Randall Echanis who was assassinated in his home last August,” the group stated.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Debold Sinas however denied such acts.

The group further said President Rodrigo Duterte, in his most recent tirade, accused progressive lawmakers as communists while failing to offer any proof to back up his allegations.

On Thursday, as the country commemorated the International Human Rights Day, seven peasant leaders were arrested. PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said that the arrests stemmed from their crackdown on loose firearms, as several guns, ammunition, and even grenades were seized during the implementation of search warrants.

But activist groups insist again that the evidence was planted, asking that PNP release the seven suspects which included journalist and Manila Today editor Lady Ann Salem.

The DOJ launched the three-day summit on human rights as part of the joint program with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which calls for greater cooperation between the international community and the Philippines in terms of human rights.


The UNHRC decision came on the heels of calls for a greater scrutiny of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, which have been criticized or allegedly disregarding the suspects’ rights.

Last Monday, Duterte assured the international community that the Philippine government remains committed to prioritize human rights.

Talks about human rights abuses have been rampant ever since Duterte assumed office in 2016, as the issue remains a vital point in individuals and groups’ critique of the administration.  He drew widespread condemnation for allegedly disregarding human rights in his drug war, and for the incidents of alleged extra-judicial killings.

Duterte however has been adamant about the drug war, criticizing rights groups for meddling in the country’s affairs.  He once said that he should not be blamed for drug war deaths as people going into the drug war are actually committing suicide.

These are the same reasons why ICHRP still believes that the summit allegedly reeks of hypocrisy — similar to what some activists in the country claim.

“Honestly, this duality of the State smacks of hypocrisy and worse, it comes off as an insult to the thousands victimized by the Duterte government,” Murphy added.


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TAGS: activist arrest, Department of Justice, Drug war, Human rights, Human Rights Summit 2020, ICHR, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, International Human Rights Day, President Rodrigo Duterte
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