Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session

Salle XX, Palais des Nations

02 March 2020

Agenda Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on environment


Right of Reply

Thank you, Madam President.

My delegation wishes to exercise its right of reply with respect to the statement of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). ISHR referred to a report by Global Witness which cited the Philippines as a worst country for environmental defenders with 30 deaths.

We wish to share that our Department of Justice since last year has been openly engaging with the Global Witness. The Department of Justice has requested Global Witness to write officially to convey the list of names, case docket numbers and other details pertinent to the allegations. It further conveyed the government’s openness to take this matter up under the Administrative Order 35 mechanism or the Inter-Agency Committee to address extra-legal killings. Global Witness has not yet responded to the government’s request for cooperation. We emphasize that without these facts and data, the government has no basis to act on and monitor these allegations and cases.

ISHR cited a figure of over 100 personalities allegedly arrested for their environmental advocacy work. We would welcome more specific information from ISHR to enable us to properly respond. The Philippines reiterates the government’s openness to engage in a case by case discussion based on facts and substantiated information, not on allegations. We believe that discussions in the Council should similarly be guided by this kind of objectivity and that we should strengthen our efforts to support and exhaust domestic accountability mechanisms, and not undermine these, with refusal to cooperate with State.

Thank you, Madam President. END.