15 October 2018

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment called on the Philippine government not to use its recent election into the United Nations’ Human Rights Council to whitewash its bloody human rights record as it called upon the Council to form a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations under the Duterte administration.

“The election of the Philippines into the Human Rights Council does not and cannot hide the fact that human rights violations are still systematically perpetrated by the Duterte government against the Filipino people. We urge the United Nations Human Rights Council to form a Commission of Inquiry to look into the cases of human rights violations in the Philippines,” said Leon Dulce, National Coordinator of Kalikasan.

Dulce cited the 62 cases of environmental defenders being killed under the Duterte government, leading Global Witness to tag the the Philippines as the deadliest for environmental defenders in Asia and second deadliest in the world. Not a single case has been resolved nor their perpetrators have been held to account.

“With the country’s election into the Human Rights Council, we call on the Duterte government to open the country to the United Nation’s independent investigation processes to be undertaken by its special rapporteurs, diplomatic missions, and other fact-finding bodies, and the other members of the Human Rights Council to press the Duterte government to allow them to do so” he added.

It can be recalled that the United Nations then Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Philip Alston visited the country in 2007 to investigate the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by state armed forces against members of progressive groups. In 2015, Chaloka Beyani, another UN Special Rapporteur, visited the Philippines to investigate militarization of Lumad communities in Mindanao.

“We are ready to testify to UN’s investigators to see for themselves how the human rights of the Filipino people such as environmental defenders are systematically being violated. Duterte should stop blocking the entry of Special Rapporteurs tasked by the UN to investigate his human rights violations,” Dulce concluded.#