Philippines: An international investigation is needed as government continues to deny grave violations

Joint statement at the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council -- delivered by the World Organisation Against Torture


On behalf of 14 organisations, including colleagues in the Philippines, we are deeply disappointed that the draft Item 10 resolution on the Philippines fails to reflect the gravity of the situation, including as documented in the OHCHR report.

Colleagues from the Philippines have tirelessly advocated for an international investigation, at great personal risk. The thousands of victims of killings and other violations and their families continue to be deprived of justice.

This is a collective failure by the States at this Council. We are shocked by the lack of support for a more robust response.

We acknowledge the rationale presented for constructive engagement with the Government of the Philippines. However, an approach based purely on technical cooperation and capacity-building has no realistic prospect of meaningful impact with a government that denies the true scale and severity of the human rights violations, has publicly endorsed the policy of killings, avoids independent investigations, and continues to crack down on civil society.

Despite the shortcomings of the resolution, it at least keeps the situation on the agenda for the next two years and allows for robust reporting by the OHCHR on the situation – including the implementation, or lack thereof, of OHCHR report recommendations. The Council must follow developments closely and be ready to launch an independent investigation if the killings and the crackdown on civil society do not immediately end and prosecution of perpetrators is not pursued.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
Amnesty International
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice)
Franciscan International
Harm Reduction International
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Civic space in the Philippines rated as  Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor