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UN panel report urges PHL to let Callamard probe slays

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The working group on the review of the human rights situation in the Philippines has adopted the recommendations of member-countries put forward during the dialogue between the United Nations Human Rights Council and Philippine officials.

Included in the report adopted by the 27th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the UNHRC was the proposal to allow without conditions UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard to investigate the thousands of slays blamed on President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

The working group of the Universal Periodic Review called on the government to invite without further delay the said special rapporteur for an official visit in line with UN terms of reference.

France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary and Latvia were among the countries that called on the government to allow Callamard to conduct an investigation, without any conditions and without delay.

Newly appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, has indicated that the United Nations should send another investigator to look at the human rights situation in the country particularly the record on slays.

Cayetano expressed doubt over the accuracy of Callamard's facts and her impartiality.

Recent ally China, on the other hand, expressed support to the Philippines, noting that drugs are "the public enemy of mankind."

"The recommendations  formulated  during  the  interactive  dialogue and
listed below will  be  examined  by the  Philippines which  will  provide  responses  in  due  time, but no later than the 36th session of the Human Rights Council in September," the report read.

About 45-member states expressed alarm over the alleged crimes against humanity in the country, which were blamed on Duterte's war against illegal drugs.

They suggested probe into extrajudicial killings or recommended the Philippines to refrain from reinstating capital punishment after the Philippine panel, led by Senator and incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, faced the universal periodic review of the UN council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cayetano earlier said the country would welcome any other special rapporteur from the UNHRC to look into drug-related killings under the Duterte administration, citing the supposed partiality of Callamard.

“Ang usual kapag ka may issue sa isang bansa, humihingi sila ng independent investigation and special rapporteur. Ang special rapporteur po hindi po ‘yan prosecutor na pupunta, na huhusgahan,” he said in a press conference in Phnom Penh on late Wednesday night.

“They will go and work with the government to find the problem and recommend. So ang sinabi po natin, welcome basta’t independent at tsaka fair," added Cayetano.

Cayetano during the periodic review blamed the media for the view that there was a sudden increase of killings under the Duterte administration.

He disclosed that a total of 53,503 anti-illegal drug operations have been conducted in the 10 months of the Duterte administration, which is more than half of 93,197 drug operations conducted under the previous Aquino administration. 
The senator said 64,917 drug personalities have been arrested and more than 1.2 million drug pushers and users have surrendered.

Data presented by Cayetano said that as of April 20, deaths resulting from presumed legitimate law enforcement operations were at 2,692, while total homicide cases were 9,342. —NB, GMA News


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