ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Human rights violations: civil and church organizations call for international investigation

Saturday, 31 October 2020 human rights   laity   area crisis  


Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Our ultimate goal is that the international community conduct an independent and impartial investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines.
But for now this is not the case and this is very disappointing indeed. A recently published UN resolution shows that the international community recognizes the human rights crisis and that possible mechanisms for defining accountability should be developed. The announced provision of technical assistance to strengthen the judiciary in the country also shows the current weakness of the existing system", says Camillian priest, Fr. Aris Miranda, Co-president of the Association "Promotion of Church People's Response - Europe", on the decision of the United Nations on 7 October offering technical assistance to the Philippine Ministry of Justice for an investigation into what happened in the Philippines during President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called "war on drugs".

The Church has always been critical of the decisions of the Philippine government, which often uses force and abuse to carry out a type of "cleansing" that has killed thousands of people, often just small drug dealers or users. That is why secular and church organizations at home and abroad urge an independent and impartial investigation.

The controversial choices of Durterte, since his inauguration, have in fact been the subject of numerous criticisms at an internal and international level. In a resolution of 17 September, the European Parliament affirms that, having read a detailed report by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the human rights violations perpetrated by Duterte's administration are strongly condemned and member States of the European Union (EU) are invited to support the urgency of an international investigation into violations committed in the Philippines since 2016. The EU not only calls for an end to the killings and for the disbandment of paramilitary groups, but fears the possibility of seeing the clause of “favored nation” (the GSP+ regime) which guarantees exemption from duties on exports of Philippine goods to Europe.

Then came the indication by the UN of the commitment to guarantee technical assistance to the local Justice Department. And the hope of an independent investigation, guaranteed by the international community, has moved away.

Father Miranda does not abandon hope: "Despite everything - he tells Fides - I am still confident that the victims and their families will see the light of justice at the end of the tunnel. I encourae the people in the Church to remain vigilant and monitor the situation. There are still other possible international mechanisms and we will continue to express our demands. In the meantime, we will continue to support the families of the victims with our means and to the best of our ability". (MG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 31/10/2020)