Think tank hopeful UN panel will urge Marcos admin to take action on human rights issues

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 13) — A local think tank is hopeful the United Nations Human Rights Council will call on the Marcos administration to act on human rights issues in the country.

IBON Foundation Executive Director Sonny Africa made the statement as Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying is in Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review, where the Philippines' human rights record will be assessed.

Africa, who is also in Geneva, believes at least one member nation will call attention to human rights issues in the country. He is optimistic the supposed inaction of the Marcos administration will be brought up during the session.

"Sa mahigit 100 bansa na magsasalita sa Lunes, sigurado kami na may magre-raise ng concern diyan at possibly frustration doon sa hindi ginagawa maging sa Marcos administration na harapin yung mga paglabag sa panahon ni Duterte. Lalung-lalo na ang isa niyang kaalyado niya anak ng dating presidente," he said at an online forum Sunday.

[Translation: Among the over 100 nations that will speak (at the UPR session) on Monday, we believe one of them will raise concern and possible frustration on the inaction, even of the Marcos administration, to face human rights violations during the time of Duterte. Especially since one of his (Marcos) allies is the daughter of the former president.]

However, Africa believes the UN body will not yet press the Marcos administration on human rights issues that may be happening under its watch.

"Dahil nga bago lamang yung administrasyon ni President Bongbong Marcos, inaasahan namin baka medyo maging malambot sila in terms of yung paniningil kay Bongbong Marcos kung may ginawa siya o wala. Kasi kung may ginawa na siya sa ilang buwan pa lamang niya, siguro hindi pa yun masyadong tatampok kumpara sa violations ng nakaraang Duterte government," Africa added.

[Translation: Since the administration of President Bongbong Marcos is still new, we think they will be quite soft on demanding accountability from Marcos whether he did something or not. Because if they already did something in a few months in office, it's possible it may not be as wide scale as the violations of the Duterte government.]

Africa believes issues on the controversial anti-terrorism law, killing and detention of activists, curtailing of freedom of expression may be raised again at the session. He flagged certain parts of the country's report that may show “selectivity” in the protection of human rights.

"Kung ikaw ay sangkot sa iligal na droga at terorismo, justified na malabag ang karapatan na pantao mo. So, delikado yun. Ikalawa, sinabi din ang human rights ay pwede lang sa mga hindi nagre-resort sa violent extremism. Ikatlo, nabanggit din dun yung necessity na ilimita ang human rights para protektahan ang human rights ng iba," he said.

[Translation: If you are involved in illegal drugs and terrorism, it's justified that your human rights will be violated. So, that's concerning. Second, the report also said human rights are only for those who will not resort to violent extremism. Third, it also mentioned the necessity to limit human rights to protect the rights of others.]

RELATED: UN human rights panel wary over PH's anti-terrorism law

The Justice Secretary is leading the country's delegation in Geneva. In a statement, Remulla said the country will engage constructively and openly during the process.

"I am going to the UPR with a very clear message: The Philippines, under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, is working to deliver transformational reform of its justice and law enforcement sectors to enhance the enjoyment of human rights of all our citizens based on the rule of law and respect for due process," he said.

Africa doubts the ongoing case of Remulla's eldest son Juanito Jose Diaz Remulla III, who was caught in possession of marijuana last month, will be raised at the session.

"The Philippine government will not raise it, magbu-boomerang sa kanya. In terms of diplomacy, walang bansa ang magre-raise nun lalung-lalo na ngayon na may nagaganap na ASEAN summit sa Cambodia," he said.

[Translation: The Philippine government will not raise it (Remulla's son's case) because it will create a boomerang effect. In terms of diplomacy, no country will raise it, especially since the ASEAN summit is currently happening in Cambodia.]

The Philippines is among the nations that will face the UPR working group session from Nov. 7 to 18 in Geneva. The last time the country underwent the review was in 2017.