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Iceland to PHL: Allow human rights review by UN special rapporteur

Iceland on Monday asked the Philippines to allow assessors from the United Nations to "allow an objective assessment of the human rights situation in the country."

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, urged the Philippines to accept a visit from the UN Special Rapporteur without preconditions or limitations.

He made the call during the the first meeting of the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Thórdarson also requested the Philippines to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner to accept a mission by independent experts to conduct the assessment.

He noted that reports have reached the UN of the Philippines' initial signs of willingness to coordinate with the organization for the appraisal.

"We welcome reports that the Philippines have indicated that maybe willing to cooperate with the UN to allow an objective assessment of the human rights situations in the country," Thórdarson said.

He noted that the country's cooperation with the ICC regarding its preliminary examination on extrajudicial killings linked to the deadly anti-illegal drugs campaign was "an important development."

But this, Thórdarson added, did not remove the need of the HRC to monitor the human rights situation in the Philippines.

"This is an important development, but it does not take the responsibility away from this party to fulfill its duty to monitor, investigate and to deliberate and take further steps, including a more formal council initiatives, if the need arises-- to try and assure, the Philippines meets its human rights obligations," he said.

He then noted that the Philippines and Saudi Arabia, currently under heavy reformation amidst criticisms for its involvement in the Yemen crisis, were both members of the UN HRC.

Malacañang slammed three UN special rapporteurs who called for an investigation on the extrajudicial killings last year and accused the officials of "concocting falsehoods."

President Rodrigo Duterte, who said the war on drugs would continue despite the ICC's proceedings, criticized the International Criminal Court recently of focusing on him despite the violent crisis faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Duterte laid down rules for a visit from Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard. Callamard had pointed out that these conditions did not comply with their Code of Conduct and Terms of Reference for country visits. —NB, GMA News