Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) – The government has said it is committed to cooperating with the international community on human rights issues as the United Nations (UN) prepares to hold a series of dialogues and reviews during of the next three months.
Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to working with other countries during a virtual briefing held on Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said in a statement on Friday.
According to the FDFA, constructive dialogues with the UN human rights treaty bodies will take place in September and October – first on the country’s compliance with conventions on the rights of the child, then on civil and political rights.
The UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will also begin in November, during which the human rights record of the Philippines and other member states will be assessed.
The last time the country underwent a UPR was in 2017, when an overwhelming majority of 45 out of 47 states taking part in the review expressed concern over the spate of killings in the controversial campaign against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, the Duterte administration rejected more than half of the recommendations of the assessment, which included investigating alleged extrajudicial executions (EJKs) resulting from the war on drugs. He said full acceptance would “disparage the state’s current serious efforts that are already addressing the issues raised.”
The Marcos administration will also receive the UN special rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children in November this year and the UN special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression in 2023, said the DFA.
He added that during the same briefing on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reiterated plans to improve the country’s criminal justice system, in line with commitments made under the Joint United Nations Program launched the last year.
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Remulla said his department is also working to build the capacity of the inter-agency committee tasked with handling EJK cases and other serious human rights violations. Among other things, he said they would partner with the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or extrajudicial executions on a training program on the investigation of possible unlawful deaths.