Palace slams Karapatan report, says no need for UN to step in

April 12, 2017 - 5:47 PM
The United Nations headquarters in New York City. REUTERS FILE

MANILA – The report given by human rights group Karapatan to the United Nations, seeking an investigation of alleged political killings of peasants and indigenous peoples under the Duterte administration, is “questionable” and ignores government’s serious efforts to address the root causes of conflict in insurgency-affected areas, Malacanang Palace said Wednesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella also pointed out that the Philippines’ judicial systems and mechanisms for redressing grievances are fully functioning, and there is thus no need for undue interference by outside parties.

In submitting a Report of Human Rights Violations to the UN, Karapatan had asked the United Nations, through its Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings /Arbitrary Executions, to investigate 47 alleged cases of political killings involving peasants and indigenous peoples under the Duterte administration.

Abella, however, said in his statement: “It is not the policy of the Duterte administration to violate citizens’ human rights. To attribute the killings to government is a serious allegation, contrary to President Duterte’s stand that “our principled position (is) that disputes should be settled in a peaceful manner.”

Abella pointed out that despite the initial setbacks, the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines “continue to pursue peace and  seek solutions to the root problems of the age-old armed conflict.
We therefore find Karapatan’s move rather questionable, considering that our own justice system and domestic institutions are more than adequate to judge the matter.”

The Duterte administration, Abella said, “is singular in achieving the goal of peace that will ultimately serve the entire Filipino nation,” even though “interested elements from various groups may not want the peace negotiations to succeed.”

Finally, Abella said, “the Philippines is a sovereign and democratic state. President Duterte has been open to any investigation but he has also set conditions for any international body to come in and interfere with its domestic affairs.”