The crisis of accountability persists in the Philippines

Statement at 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Delivered by Roneo Clamor, Karapatan

CIVICUS and Karapatan welcome the High Commissioner’s update.

In June 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that violations of human rights, including the widespread and systematic killing of thousands of alleged drug suspects, attacks on human rights activists and the vilification of dissent, were pervasive in the country, and accountability for these actions are virtually non-existent. We have seen no human rights progress on the ground, and the crisis of accountability persists.

The UN national joint programme for human rights adopted in July 2021 has minimal prospects to improve the situation on the ground, particularly given the obvious lack of political will to do so.

Those who protect human rights and call for justice continue to be targeted and attacked. Activists have been killed over the year both by the security forces and unknown individuals. In many instances this occurred following reports of them being red-tagged. In virtually none of the cases has anyone been held accountable.

Others, like 64-year-old human rights worker Teresita Naul, have been arrested on trumped up criminal charges without due process. Senator Leila de Lima remains in prison for politically motivated charges because of her actions to investigate killings in the drug war.

The draconian Anti-Terror Act, adopted in 2020, appears to be aimed at further criminalising dissent.

Justice is about holding perpetrators of human rights violations accountable, reparations for the victims, and the non-repetition of the crimes and atrocities committed. None of these will be forthcoming under the current administration, or the current resolution. We urgently call on the Human Rights Council to establish an overdue independent investigation in the Philippines.

Thank you.

Civic space in the Philippine is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor