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Human rights group declares UN probe a victory for EJK victims

The In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement on Friday characterized the United Nations Human Rights Council's decision to investigate President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs as a "huge victory" for the families of victims of extrajudicial killings.

Interviewed on Balitanghali on Friday, iDEFEND spokesperson Ellecer "Budit" Carlos said his organization, as well as other partners "shed tears" at the main session hall as the United Nations council adopted its resolution in Geneva.

"Malaking tagumpay ito para sa libo-libong mga pamilya na biktima ng extrajudicial killings diyan sa atin sa Pilipinas," Carlos said.

Carlos pointed out that they had no other recourse but to seek accountability from the international community given the slow Philippine criminal justice system.

The UNHRC resolution, proposed by Iceland, was adopted after 18 countries voted in favor of it and 14 others, including China, voted against it. Fifteen other countries, including Japan, abstained.

iDEFEND was one of the groups that originally submitted a UNHRC petition seeking a review of the Philippine war on drugs.

Demeaning, degrading, insulting

The iDEFEND spokesperson also slammed Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who claimed the value of dialogue was violated by the UN, calling Locsin "unworthy of being called a department secretary."

Carlos argued that human rights defenders had exhausted all means to push for a dialogue in Geneva for the past three years.

Carlos was particularly critical of Presidential Human Rights Committee head, Undersecretary Severo Catura, for his "demeaning," "degrading" and "insulting" statements made against Iceland, and his "slanderous" pronouncements against human rights defenders.

The rights defender argued that these remarks made by the Philippine delegation in Geneva made human rights defenders' work more dangerous.

"But it is worth it! Malaking tagumpay ito for the human rights cause and to halt the unabated killings there in the Philippines." — Jamil Santos/DVM, GMA News