PH urges Western critics to respect domestic processes

By , on September 29, 2017


FILE: The statement from the ASEAN chairman, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, condemned the attacks against Myanmar security forces and all acts of violence which resulted in civilian deaths and mass displacement of people.  KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
FILE: Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

MANILA —  The Philippines on Friday urged a group of mostly European countries to respect its domestic processes after it was criticized anew on its human rights record.

“We take grave exception to the sweeping and politicized statement delivered by Iceland on behalf of a group of States,” the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva said, in a strongly-worded response during the general debate at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

In Washington, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the criticism was based on biased and questionable information, and failed to appreciate Manila’s willingness to work with the international community on human rights issues.

“It is very unfortunate that instead of engaging us constructively, some western countries would rather criticize and impose conditions as if they can do a better job than the Philippine government in protecting the Filipino people,” he said in a statement.

Cayetano reiterated readiness to allow experts from the international community to look into the human rights situation in the country provided the processes are “fair and independent.”

In the joint statement delivered by Iceland, the 39 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed concern about what they said were the “thousands of killings” and the alleged climate of impunity associated with the Philippine government’s ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.

In Geneva, Philippine Permanent Representative Evan Garcia said the states that signed the statement also failed to take into consideration the commitment Manila made during the adoption in Geneva on Friday of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on the Philippines.

Ambassador Garcia said the Philippines had actually committed to implement recommendations from other countries that Manila only initially noted, after the completion of the necessary legislative and other domestic processes.

“Our recent UPR showed the whole world our record in the human rights field. Our accomplishments were well recognized,” 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,” the ambassador added.