43rd Human Rights Council Session-High Level Segment

27 February 2020, Salle XX, Palais des Nations

Item 2: General Debate on the High Commissioner’s Oral Update

Speaking time: 2 min. 30 sec.

The Philippines is encouraged by the balance, independence, and objectivity that inform the High Commissioner’s leadership. 

We fully agree that the challenge of the Coronavirus is a test of our societies' resilience and support her call for effective public health measures guided by a human rights framework.  

We commend the High Commissioner's unflinching guidance for the Council to take effective action across the spectrum of all human rights issues. She has highlighted the Council's mandate with respect to “emergencies that demand rapid and decisive action” and equally, to issues that require long-term sustained and similarly decisive commitments and actions such as climate justice, migration and the SDG agenda. 

We note that the High Commissioner's guidance resonates in the call to action on human rights issued by Secretary General Guterres who highlighted that “success must be measured by the yardstick of meaningful change in people’s lives.” 

The High Commissioner’s emphasis on technical cooperation and "practical, actionable solutions based on sound human rights norms”, affirms the Secretary-General’s outline for a forward-looking agenda for collective action that promotes engagement between and among the UN system, governments, regional institutions and stakeholders.

We believe in optimizing UN resources and presence on the ground to strengthen national and regional capacities, using tested policy tools and entry points, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and the implementation of the SDG 2030 agenda. 

The Philippines affirms its commitment to continue its active engagement with the UN, in line with the inclusive and human rights-based good governance agenda of the government. The UN system in Manila is strongly supported by a human rights adviser from the OHCHR, who fully enjoys the cooperation of the Philippine government.

Finally, the Philippines recalls the words of the Secretary-General that human rights “must never be a vehicle for double standards or a means to pursue hidden agendas.” It is our hope that the convergence of visions and commitments from the leadership of the UN, the OHCHR, and the Human Rights Council, with the full support of states and stakeholders, will provide the much needed will to reorient approaches in our work, towards achieving more impact where it matters the most -- on the ground -- and  restoring faith in the power of constructive multilateralism.

Thank you, Madam President.