PH To State Case Before UN Panel On Involuntary Disappearances

12 February 2019 – The Philippines will reassure the United Nations of its commitment to respect, protect, and fulfill its human rights obligations when it appears before a panel looking into cases of enforced and involuntary disappearances that took place in the country from 1975 to 2012.

A delegation from Manila made up of officials from the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the Department of Justice, and other agencies will present the Philippine position before the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) at its 117th Session in Sarajevo this week.

According to the Philippine Mission to the UN in Geneva, the delegation headed by Presidential Human Rights Committee Undersecretary Severo Catura will seek to convince the UN WGEID of the sincerity of the Philippine Government in ensuring not only the protection of its people but also the accountability of law enforcement and security sectors.

Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, said the Philippine delegation will be presenting the various domestic mechanisms the Duterte Administration is undertaking to address enforced or involuntary disappearances.

Ambassador Garcia said the panel will also discuss Manila’s current international engagements, such as through the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and with concerned UN bodies such as the Human Rights Committee that monitors State-party compliance with obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Ambassador Garcia said the Philippine delegation will likewise underscore the need to strengthen UN human rights monitoring mechanisms, to include the need for the WGEID to exercise due diligence in reviewing cases received in light of contentious and flawed information surrounding these cases.

The Philippine Mission in Geneva, which regularly engages the WGEID, views this meeting as an important opportunity to engage UN human rights mechanisms, especially after the recent reelection of the Philippines to a fifth-term in the UN Human Rights Council from 2019 to 2021

The UN WGEID is part of the Special Procedures system of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is a central element of the UN human rights machinery.

It is composed of five independent experts who examine cases of enforced involuntary disappearances, with the primary task of assisting families in determining the fate or whereabouts of their family members who are reportedly disappeared. END