Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session

General Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations

11 March 2020

Agenda Item 4: 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 the EU, Iceland, France, and a representative from Asia Forum.

The Philippines reiterates its openness to engaging all parties in good faith to address all claims and allegations of human rights violations, case-by-case, on the basis of facts.

Facts and the cooperation of parties are the starting point of meaningful action. We urge the concerned states to assist and support the resolution of such allegations by calling on parties and sources of allegations to cooperate with the government and to provide facts and specific information that would allow competent authorities to investigate and properly respond to the same through our domestic accountability mechanisms.

The country’s strong framework of good governance and rule of law ensures that the government holds to account human rights violators and provides redress to their victims.

We acknowledge our partnership with the European Union, through the Governance in Justice Program, to strengthen national judicial administration and accountability mechanisms. These include the strengthening of the Administrative Order (AO) 35 inter-agency cooperative mechanism for defined cases of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons; and consultations on the creation of a human rights observatory to address concerns concerning human rights defenders and other cases not falling within the scope of AO 35.

We draw the Council’s attention to parties that consistently reject the government’s call for cooperation within domestic mechanisms and their lack of genuine interest in validating cases towards their resolution We urge the Council to be circumspect on the agenda of these parties and the legitimacy of their advocacies.

We regret that parties affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), which has carried out the longest insurgency in Asia over the last 50 years, are able to take their place beside honest advocates and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Geneva. Their playbook of deceit opposes the UN Secretary General’s guidance against the use of human rights for hidden agendas. Claims about red-tagging serve only the interests of these parties who are accountable under the rule of law for decades of atrocities and opportunism exploiting the free civic space in the Philippines to pursue violent ends.

We assure the Council that these parties do not represent the over 100,000 non-profit organizations and CSOs in the Philippines, whose empowered freedom for engagement, advocacy and action, are fundamental to our democracy.

Thank you, Madam President. END.