Press Release
July 12, 2019


The door of domestic investigation may have been shut, but the windows of international scrutiny are beginning to open up towards justice for the Filipino people.

On 11 July 2019, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted Iceland's proposal for member-states to take concrete actions on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines, citing the thousands of extrajudicial killings in line with the drug war, and the reported attacks and harassment of critics and human rights defenders in the country. Among others, the preeminent human rights body requested the High Commissioner to "prepare a comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines," while calling upon the Philippine government to "cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including by facilitating country visits and preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation."

The UNHRC Resolution is a welcome step - a jumpstart, indeed - in our people's search for accountability for the ongoing mass murder and other gross human rights violations in the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte. If effectively implemented, the UNHRC Resolution can help in decisively shattering the "consensus of silence and conspiracy of fear" among the Filipinos domestically, and in shifting the political narrative abroad, as I had intimated in my message to the UNHRC during its September 2018 session.

While the actions to be taken by relevant UN officials in light of the UNHRC Resolution are relatively modest - compared with the establishment of a commission of inquiry that we in the human rights community have been advocating - the conduct of official monitoring and reporting on the Philippine human rights situation will still be a significant development, a clear signal to Duterte and his cohorts that truth and justice will prevail, and that the perpetrators and masterminds behind the atrocities will be held accountable.

I therefore commend the UNHRC for this bold move. I appeal to everyone to make the Resolution work, and to continue soldiering on to shrink the space for impunity in the Philippines, and to widen the windows of justice for the victims of mass murder and other abuses against our people. ###

PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame

12 July 2019

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