Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session
Salle XX, Palais des Nations
04 March 2020
Agenda Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the
Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders
Speaking time: 1 min. 30 sec.
Thank you, Madam President.
The Philippines thanks Mr. Forst for his report. We concur with the SR on the invaluable contribution of defenders of a wide range of profiles to addressing situations in conflict and post-conflict situations. His report has comprehensively described the different challenging context under which they operate and the importance of upholding norms to allow their legitimate activities of human rights defenders to flourish in the midst of difficult circumstances.
As a country that is one of the most affected by terrorism in the world, we are aware that conflict and post-conflict siutations are profoundly complex and politically sensittive envvironments, where some elements could use the cover of human rights defenders to protect, cover, or promote agendas of deceit and violence.
We have shared perspectives on our context where the CPP-NPA-NDF, an armed non-state actor, has carried out the longest running insurgency in Asia in the Philippines and terrorized communities while benefitting from the goodwill that the UN system endows the human rights defenders. Their well-documented atrocities include the recruitment of indigenous children for combat and the killing of hundreds of indigenous leaders and tribal warriors who continue to oppose and defend their ancestral domain against CPP-NPA-NDF encroachment. The realities in the Philippines clearly illustrate that in some contexts, the lines are blurred, and this is being exploited by certain actors.
Mr. Forst, you have mentioned the need to address impunity and provide effective remedy, what would you advice in such situation where unscrupulous groups are using the defender badge as an impunity blanket to evade accountability from gross human rights violations?
Thank you, Madam President. END.