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Palace welcomes UN support to strengthen human rights and accountability mechanisms in Philippines

Malacañang on Thursday thanked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for passing a resolution aimed at strengthening the human rights and accountability mechanisms in the Philippines.

Falling short of launching an independent investigation, the resolution adopted on Wednesday asks UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to support the Philippines in fulfilling its international human rights obligations.

The assistance will be for domestic investigative and accountability measures, data gathering on alleged police violations, civic space and engagement with civil society and the Commission on Human Rights, national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up, counter-terrorism legislation, and human rights-based approaches to drug control.

“We will fully cooperate po with the UN human rights system dahil ‘yan lang naman po ang gusto natin,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

“We are not saying we’re perfect. Kaya nga kung gusto ninyo, huwag n’yo kaming pulaan, tulungan n’yo na lang kami. At ito pong latest resolution ng UN Human Rights Council na magbibigay ng technical assistance sa atin is very much appreciated,” he added.

The Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva characterized the resolution as a “significant reversal” of the controversial decision reached in July 2019 that called for Bachelet to report on the human rights situation in the country “on the basis of unverified and sweeping allegations on extrajudicial killings.”

Human rights groups in the Philippines expressed disappointment over the resolution, saying the UNHRC’s offer of technical assistance was not enough. They also said the resolution does not get the Philippines off the hook.

“Well, sa kanila po, sorry na lang po sila,” Roque said.

The Duterte administration has repeatedly said domestic mechanisms are sufficient to exact accountability from human rights violators.—AOL, GMA News