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Philippine group urges government to halt human rights situation ‘fakery’ amidst UN envoy visit

Human rights group KARAPATAN has called on the administration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to cease what it labels as “fakery” on the human rights situation in the Philippines. 

This comes in response to the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs’ assertion that the upcoming visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion showcases the government’s “open, sustained, and sincere cooperation” with international partners.

“Stop the fakery and cut the show,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of the group. She stressed that “integrity in cooperation” with the international body “means heeding recommendations” from the UN Experts.

Palabay pointed out that the Philippine government “has disregarded, shrugged off, and rejected past recommendations” made by various UN special rapporteurs who have visited the country.

According to Palabay, the Marcos Jr. government appears to treat international engagements as opportunities to boost its image rather than addressing real human rights issues. 

The group alleged that the administration has intensified its policy of repression, violating basic freedoms, including freedom of expression.

KARAPATAN highlighted ongoing concerns, including extrajudicial killings in the drug war and counterinsurgency efforts, the use of the Anti-Terrorism Law to suppress dissent, and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s alleged terror-tagging spree. 

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The group noted that nearly 800 political prisoners are facing charges due to the state’s intolerance of political beliefs.

Palabay outlined key recommendations from previous UN Special Rapporteurs that the Philippine government has allegedly ignored. 

She cited the 2008 report by Prof. Philip Alston, who pointed out government, military, and police responsibility in targeted killings and enforced disappearances of political activists.

Dr. Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Climate Change, called for the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the rescinding of the Anti-Terrorism Law after he visited the Philippines in November 2023.

KARAPATAN emphasized that recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review and at the UN Human Rights Committee have been consistently disregarded by the Marcos Jr. administration.

The group urged the government to stop using international events as mere window dressing and instead implement the recommendations of Special Rapporteurs and human rights mechanisms.

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