Press Release
July 12, 2019


*Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on the adoption of Iceland's resolution before the UNHRC

I laud the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for adopting Iceland's resolution calling for a probe of the human rights condition in the Philippines. It was a courageous act of solidarity and humanity of those who supported the resolution.

I, however, express my strong disapproval over our government's rejection of the resolution, going as far as closing ranks with China, our primary harasser and trespasser in the West Philippine Sea. Being a part of a global community joined by the shared respect for democracy, human rights and dignity, our government should have respected and supported this resolution. Even as we respect each other's sovereignty and right to self-determination, as a member of the international community, our country has an obligation to subject its public policies and even our leaders to international scrutiny, in the same way that we may hold accountable the actions of other nation-states.

I am sure that President Rodrigo Duterte's spinmasters will zero in on how close the result was of the vote on the resolution and claim that even within the UNHRC, there is doubt about the truthfulness of the cases of human rights violations in our country. We must not be misled. Many of those who joined our government in voting against the resolution are countries with bad human rights records, ruled by dictatorial regimes and monarchs. This only demonstrates the global and lingering phenomena of strongman rule and illiberalism, meriting closer cooperation and stronger solidarity among democratic forces in the international community. Amid these difficult times, I am happy that the resolution was approved and adopted as the will and sense of the UNHRC.

As such, I urge all democracy-loving Filipinos to use the resolution to pressure our government to fully recognize democracy, human rights and the rule of law in our country and put an end to its bloody, corrupt and abusive war on drugs.

Popularity does not equate to democracy. History has taught us that authoritarian regimes can be popular for some time and can even have the appearance of democracy. But all authoritarian regimes crumble eventually. With unrelenting and determined struggle, we will prevail. Justice and democracy will triumph.

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