Thank you, Mr. President 

The Philippines notes the report and welcomes the efforts to provide states concerned sufficient time to respond to the issues in the draft. We believe that the reports taken up by the Council should be guided by the highest level of objectivity, professionalism and due diligence.

Maintaining high standards to ensure that facts - not falsities - are the basis of our discourse is crucial to preserve the integrity and credibility of the Council in the age of fake news.

Mr. President,

The Philippines condemns all acts of intimidation and reprisals committed by Governments and non-state actors.

We draw attention to the need for the international community to exercise due diligence in engaging parties who have abused the good faith of the UN system, masquerading as human rights defenders while actively carrying out terrorism and crime. Evidence was presented on how the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), a terrorist group, and its front organizations, have perpetrated systemic atrocities among its followers and indigenous communities in the Philippines for decades. The report of the SRSG on Children in Armed Conflict corroborates this information.

May we ask Assistant Secretary General Gilmour for his views on best practices to address intimidations and reprisals committed by non-state actors and how to assist States in strengthening their capacities as duty-bearers in this regard?

Mr. President,

We welcome the work of the OHCHR to launch consultation mechanisms within the UN system as well as with inter-governmental regional organizations and multilateral development banks, on reprisals, with a view to strengthening accountability mechanisms in these institutions. We request the Secretary General to keep the Council apprised of progress of these efforts.

Finally, we believe that the Council needs a more considered debate on concerns raised on the use of national security arguments and counter-terrorism to justify reprisals. Our conversation should be informed by the fact that terrorism is a grave matter whose full repercussions on the human rights of individuals and communities are understood only by those who have suffered and continue to suffer from it.

Thank you, Mr. President. END.