Cayetano on 38 nations’ call to end PH rights abuses: They prefer to rely on misinformation
Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Sunday hit back at the 38 other members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for insisting on their "biased and unfounded criticism" on the Philippines' human rights record.
“We regret that Iceland and several other countries maintained their position despite our offer for them to visit the Philippines and objectively asses the human rights situation, especially at the community level,” Cayetano said in a statement from New York.
He said he personally invited Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson to visit Manila to see for himself the human rights situation in the country.
“Unfortunately, it seems our friends are really not interested in arriving at the truth and would rather rely on the misinformation being fed to them by parties that have politicized and weaponized human rights,” he said.
“Politics is politics but politicizing human rights endangers lives,” he added.
According to the Philippine Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Evan Garcia, Iceland, which led the 10 other members of the Council in signing the joint statement against the Philippines, was only a minority in the 47-member UNHRC.
“The Philippines, a developing country even with its more than 100 million population, has been doing its small part in sharing the global burden of the protection of refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons and other persons of concern,” Garcia pointed out.
“The Philippines remains a responsible member of this august body. We are respectful of our international human rights obligations. We remain a free, dynamic and democratic society. There is no basis, therefore, for the Council to be concerned with the situation in the Philippines,” he added.
In a joint statement issued last Tuesday, the 38 states called the Philippines to cooperate with the international community on the investigation of the alleged human rights abuses in the country.
“We urge the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring killings associated with the campaign against illegal drugs to an end and cooperate with the international community to investigate all related deaths and hold perpetrators accountable,” it said.
In response, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said even without their call, the government has been implementing the law in the country.
“Well even if there is no such call, our Congress really implements the law. I’ve already told you that we have an inventory of those who were allegedly killed on war on drugs, for us to know if the right process was really followed or not,” he said.
"It only means that we do not need the call of the foreigners, we are doing that even without their calls,” he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS