LOOK | Draft UN rights recommendations to PH: Stop EJKs, capital punishment, etc

May 11, 2017 - 11:07 AM
Dead drug suspect
Police investigators inspect the body of a suspected drug addict who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Quezon City. (Reuters file)

MANILA, Philippines – A draft report of the UPR Working Group on the Philippines includes calls on Manila to end the extrajudicial killings that have claimed thousands of lives in the government’s “war on drugs”, and to scrap plans to restore capital punishment.

These  calls are among 257 recommendations – from 95 participating states – for the Philippines to undertake following the recent Universal Periodic Review of the country’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Other recommendations are on efforts to end human trafficking.

The recommendations are contained in a draft report of the UPR Working Group on the Philippines made available by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights through the UN Information Center in Manila.

The draft is expected to be adopted Thursday afternoon in Geneva, or late night Manila time.

UNIC explained that “220 is the average number of recommendations received thus far from states during this session (of the UPR); so the 257 is not extraordinary.” It noted that India received 250 recommendations and Brazil, 246.

The Philippine presentation made by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano stirred controversy when he dismissed reports on state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings as “alternative facts.”  But the recommendations indicate that most UN member-states believe the allegations are credible.

Cayetano has since been named Foreign Affairs secretary by President Rodrigo Duterte, under whom he ran but lost as vice president during the 2016 elections.

A sampling of the recommendations:

  • Ensure human rights training for state security forces in order to enhance their capacity to protect human rights (Ghana)
  • Provide adequate resourcing to the Commission on Human Rights and allow it to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings (Australia)
  • Ensure that the fight against crime strictly respects international standards (Peru)
  • Strengthen the campaign against illegal drugs (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)
  • Continue its efforts to protect its people from the threat of drugs while upholding human rights values (Myanmar)
  • Take the necessary measures to combat drug trafficking, while ensuring that the methods used are in conformity with international standards (Haiti)
  • Ensure that all counter-narcotics operations are conducted in conformity with constitutional protections and international human rights obligations (United States of America)
  • Bring in line with international best practices the methods of combating the use of illegal drugs in the Philippines, namely in terms of prevention and alternative sanctions (Portugal)
  • Address the root cause of illegal drugs through development (China)
  • Respect the right to life and maintain the abolition of the death penalty (Haiti)
  • Consider not reinstating the death penalty, as per the bill introduced before the 17th Congress (Mozambique)
  • Abstain from reintroducing of the death penalty (Luxembourg)
  • Preserve the right to life, do not bring back use of the death penalty as proposed in the Death Penalty Bill (Liechtenstein)
  • Respect its obligations under international law and refrain from the reintroduction of the capital punishment (Republic of Moldova)
  • Refrain from reintroducing the death penalty, in accordance with its international obligations, in particular those under the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at the abolition of the death penalty (Switzerland)
  • Continue to uphold the implementation commitments, as a State Party to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (Romania)
  • Cease all steps to reintroduce the death penalty, contrary to its obligations under the OP to the ICCPR; urgently accept a visit from the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, without preconditions or limitations; fully investigate and prosecute all cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances; take immediate steps to combat torture in the criminal justice system, including torture in police stations to extract confessions; and fully respect international human rights law in its efforts to combat the trade in and use of illegal drugs (Ireland)
  • Put an end to extrajudicial killings including those related to the “war on drugs”, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture, harassment and other human rights violations (Slovakia)
  • Take immediate steps to stop extrajudicial killings and to conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into all enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings so that perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice (Netherlands)
  • Take concrete measures to stop extrajudicial killings and the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings should be invited to visit the country without conditions (Lithuania)
  • End extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture and harassment, including by effectively implementing criminal prohibitions against extrajudicial killings (Canada)
  • Take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and carry out impartial investigations to hold perpetrators accountable (Germany)
  • Protect and guarantee the right to life and to a fair trial also in the context of the campaign against drug trafficking, and take all necessary steps to guarantee a proportionate use of force by the security forces (Italy)
  • Take all necessary steps to ensure prompt, impartial and transparent investigations into alleged unlawful killings and other abuses during anti-drug operations (Hungary)


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