The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) on Tuesday expressed support to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet's concern over the death toll in the Philippines' anti-drug campaign.
"We wholeheartedly welcome such statements on this point. The tenor and tone apparently reflect the desired credibility, objectivity, transparency and fairness on the matter," NUPL President Edre Olalia said in a statement.
He added that the UN rights chief's recent statement highlights the urgent need for appropriate actions against extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.
"Many of these transgressions are disguised or legitimized by color of legality and official sanction including those against lawyers under attack," Olalia said.
Olalia also said that Bachelet's remarks raised the importance of alternative avenues for redress in the international community amid "what turns out to be rather ineffective and ineffectual domestic remedies that frustrate or undermine local recourse for justice."
During the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet mentioned that the number of deaths in the Philippines continued to rise amid the administration's anti-drugs campaign.
"My Office is following the situation of human rights in the Philippines very closely. The extraordinarily high number of deaths – and persistent reports of extrajudicial killings – in the context of campaigns against drug use continue," Bachelet said.
"Even the officially confirmed number of 5,425 deaths would be a matter of most serious concern for any country," she added.
According to the Philippine National Police, there are 6,600 drug suspects killed while resisting arrest in police drugs operations as of the end of May 2019.
Bachelet also underscored that threats from senior government officials against human rights defenders, journalist, lawyers, and members of the Catholic clergy incubated a "very real risk of violence" against them and undermined both the rule of law and the right to freedom of expression.
Olalia said the NUPL has high hopes that the concern will merit a favorable response and determined action from the UN Human Rights Council and the international community. —Dona Magsino/LDF, GMA News