Rights situation in PH ‘got worse’ in past year – Investigate PH
MANILA, Philippines — A new damning report on the human rights abuses by the Duterte administration is expected to ramp up the pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is close to wrapping up its preliminary examination into crimes against humanity allegedly committed by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in the past five years.
The report by Investigate PH—an international coalition of civil, political and legal organizations—found, among other things, that the human rights situation in the Philippines has only gotten worse since the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights first flagged brazen abuses in the country in June last year.
These abuses, they said, were compounded by the police and military being the perpetrators themselves of grave violations, and the government’s counterinsurgency task force orchestrating “political repression and militarizing governance.”
Even the paltry investigations that do exist are neither “impartial nor independent,” the report said, as state forces themselves collude to obstruct justice.
Checks and balances from public institutions and critical opposition voices, meanwhile, have been “eviscerated” or silenced through trumped-up charges or even death.
Given this, the group is hoping the ICC would ultimately decide to seek authorization to open an investigation of the Philippines’ situation.
“The human rights crisis in the Philippines springs from deep and long-standing economic, social and political conflicts in the country, including international relations,” the report concluded. “Our investigation raised hopes among the victims that help and justice might come from the international community.”
The commission’s report, which was led by the International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines, came out just as the Supreme Court mooted the petition contesting the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC.
It is the first independent audit of the human rights abuses committed under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and crackdown on communist insurgents.
It is based on preliminary surveys, interviews and examinations of 49 key case studies that occurred between 2020 and 2021.
This and the succeeding two reports will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC in hopes of expediting their preliminary examination.
With these findings, the group also called on the United Nations to provide permanent protection of witnesses both in the InvestigatePH report and in all investigations of extrajudicial killings in the country, as well as as those “Red-flagged” by the government.
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