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Palace to 39 UN member-states: No culture of impunity in PHL

There is no culture of impunity in the Philippines, Malacañang insisted on Friday after 39 member-states of the United Nations expressed “serious concern” over the state of human rights in the country amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the accomplishments of the Philippines in the human rights field were “well recognized” during the Universal Periodic Review.

“While it is true that 39 countries have expressed concern over drug-related killings, the fact remains that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the highest peer review body in the world on all matters of human rights, unanimously accepted and commended the Outcome Report on the Philippines’ UPR,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it still appears that some parties refuse to understand certain aspects of our human rights efforts. So let us be clear. There is no culture of impunity in the Philippines,” he added.

Abella added the Philippines would accept help from foreign friends but not dictation on local affairs.

“In conclusion, rest assured that we [would] be unswerving in carrying out our duty to protect our people from the scourges of drugs, corruption and criminality so that with inclusive development and social justice, they may attain lives of dignity in a prosperous nation,” he said.

“To achieve these ends, we will always be happy to accept the help of our foreign friends. But we will never accept dictation on how we are managing our own internal domestic processes,” he said.

Abella said the government had been investigating all credible allegations of human rights violations by all its agents. The government would also continue to do so, “consistent with our constitution and laws, and in compliance with the spirit of our national traditions of liberty and democracy.”

“The truth is: Our justice system does not tolerate any state-sponsored extrajudicial killings,” he said.

“All these accusations of extrajudicial killings and circumventing police procedures should be proven in a competent court and if found meritorious should result in appropriate sanctions against the perpetrators. Failing these, such claims are mere hearsay,” he added.


Abella also hit Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development for chiming in.

“It is unfortunate that Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia), in their desire to join the discussions on the matter, would rather look at the glass half-empty rather than half-full,” he said.

Forum-Asia earlier welcomed the statements of the 39 countries.

“If the situation in the country does not improve, the UN Human Rights Council must pass a resolution at its next session in March, establishing an international, independent investigation into killings associated with the ‘war on drugs,’”  Forum-Asia executive director John Samuel said. — RSJ, GMA News

Tags: warondrugs