Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session

Salle XX, Palais des Nations

09 March 2020

Agenda Item 3: RIGHT OF REPLY


Speaking time : 3 minutes

Thank you, Madam President.

My delegation wishes to exercise its right of reply with respect to statements made by Ecuvoice, Karapatan, and certain other CSOs, who have alleged widespread attacks and harassments by the Philippine government against defenders, church people, indigenous peoples, lawyers. There are constants in these statements: that they are sweeping allegations that do not find basis on facts, and they are emboldened by Council practice that do not require these parties to substantiate their claims.

Madam President,

Facts are the starting point of any meaningful action. The Philippines has repeatedly underscored its openness to address allegations case by case, based on facts, through domestic accountability mechanisms. We have repeatedly invited parties, the same ones that have raised allegations on the Philippines in the Council, to provide specific information to enable our competent authorities to investigate these cases and properly respond, and within the country’s framework of good governance and rule of law, to hold to account human rights violators and to provide redress to their victims.

These parties have consistently rejected the government’s call for cooperation within domestic mechanisms, towards the investigation, monitoring and resolution of alleged cases. Instead, they continue to travel around Europe presenting fabrications on facts, numbers and realities in the Philippines.

We urge the Council to question the agenda of these parties, the legitimacy of their advocacies, and their lack of genuine interest in validating cases towards their resolution. Karapatan in particular has a track record of making claims that it is not able to substantiate, The Council’s credibility rests on our wisdom and capacity to distinguish between honest advocates of human rights and opportunists who exploit the noble mantle that we rightly endow human rights defenders.

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We regret that parties affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), a terrorist organization, that has waged a 50-year insurgency in the Philippines, are able to take their place beside honorable CSOs in Geneva. Their playbook of deceit assails the UN Secretary General’s guidance that human rights must never be used as a vehicle for pursuing hidden agendas.

We assure the Council that these parties do not represent the multitude of civil society actors in the country. There are over 100,000 registered non-profit organizations, attesting to the dynamic and free civic space in the Philippines, and our people’s highest regard for civil society’s role in nation-building.

The allegations raised last Friday do not hold their weight against the 87% approval rating by the Filipino public for the administration and the substantial gains in socio-economic inclusion.  The government is seeking to secure the future of 110 million Filipinos, and the administration’s good governance agenda stands on solid programs that are responsive to the socio-economic conditions and human rights challenges on the ground. 

Thank you, Madam President. END