Phl - Groups ask UNHRC to act on political killings in RP

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Human rights advocates has asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to compel the government to sincerely respect human rights and act on continuing cases of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, human rights group Karapatan secretary-general, made the call as she reported to the UNHRC in Geneva on Monday that political killings and enforced disappearances remains unabated in the Philippines.

Enriquez, who represented all human rights groups in the Philippines, reported to UNHRC that 60 cases of extrajudicial killings have been recorded by Karapatan from January to July this year,

From January to June, Karapatan has also recorded 17 cases of disappearances, 12 cases of torture and 113 cases of illegal arrests.

Among the abduction cases recorded by Karapatan this year was that of Jonas Burgos. The agriculturist was allegedly snatched by at least five armed men inside a mall in Quezon City last April.

Burgos’s family believes the military is behind the abduction.

Since 2001, Karapatan has recorded over 800 cases of political killings and hundreds of disappearances that have been attributed to the military.

Enriquez complained to the UNHRC that the government is not doing what it’s supposed to do to stop the killings and disappearances.

""The Arroyo government to this day continues with the 'vilification' of most groups on the left of the political spectrum as 'front organizations' for the armed groups thereby rendering such groups to be accordingly considered to be legitimate targets," Enriquez told members of the UNHRC.

Enriquez cited in her report to the UN council that the killings continue to intensify because of the government’s counter-insurgency strategy, "that encourage or facilitate the extrajudicial killings of activists and other enemies in certain circumstances."

Majority of the cases recorded by Karapatan involve victims belonging to members of groups identified by the military as fronts of communist group New People’s Army.

After reporting the human rights situation in the Philippines, Enriquez called on the UNHRC to "prevail upon" the government to make good its pledges to the General Assembly when it sought reelection for a seat in UN's human rights council.

Enriquez said UNHRC should consider the facts she presented when it starts reviewing the human rights records of the Philippines and other member-nations of the council.

The UNHRC will start reviewing the rights records of 16 member-nations, including the Philippines, in February next year.

The two-week Universal Periodic Review puts the human rights records of all UN member-nations under the scrutiny of the rights body once every four years. The process lays out a timetable for the systematic review of all 192 UN member states by the end of 2011.

Three batches of 16 member-nations are due to be scrutinized every year.

Bahrain, Ecuador and Tunisia will be the first UN members to have their human rights records reviewed, according to the results of a random draw last Friday.

Aside from the Philippines, other countries due for review in the two-week session are Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, the Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland and South Africa.

UN human rights council chief Louise Arbour has urged the 47 countries in the Council to speed up the process, warning that the credibility of the United Nations human rights system was at stake.

"We are acutely aware that the credibility of the United Nations human rights system hinges upon satisfactory implementation of the review," Arbour said.

Council president Doru Costea of Romania said the results of the rights record review will show if the process works. "They say that the proof of the pudding is eating it...It will be very important to have a well prepared and well managed process," he said.

It will be the first time in the UN's history that all members come under the spotlight, without exception. With a report from AFP


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This page contains a single entry by Marga Lacabe published on 25 de Septiembre 2007 5:12 PM.

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