Philippines hits back at Western critics for "politicizing" human rights situation

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-29 15:46:09|Editor: ying
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MANILA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines has lashed out at a group of mostly European countries over their renewed criticism of its human rights record, telling them to respect Manila's domestic processes, a government statement said on Friday.

"We take grave exception to the sweeping and politicized statement delivered by Iceland on behalf of a group of States," said the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva in a strongly-worded response during the general debate at the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council this week.

The joint statement delivered by Iceland and 38 other countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed concern about what they said were the "thousands of killings" and the alleged climate of impunity associated with the Philippine government's ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.

In Washington, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano lamented the criticism, saying this was based "on biased and questionable information," adding it failed to appreciate Manila's willingness to work with the international community on human rights issues.

"It is very unfortunate that instead of engaging us constructively, some western countries would rather criticize and impose conditions as if they can do a better job than the Philippine government in protecting the Filipino people," Cayetano, who is in the U.S. for an official visit, said.

Cayetano took exception to the insistence of several countries that Manila allow U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard to investigate the reported cases of extra-judicial killings and other alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines.

"We have repeatedly expressed our readiness to allow experts from the international community to look into the human rights situation in the country on the condition that they are fair and independent," Cayetano said.

He said independent experts can help guarantee a credible outcome of any investigation that would be conducted, unlike Callamard who he said had already prejudged the Philippine government as guilty of committing human rights violations.

In Geneva, Philippine Permanent Representative Evan Garcia said the states that signed the statement also failed to take into consideration the commitment Manila made during the adoption in Geneva last Friday of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on the Philippines.

Garcia said the Philippines had actually committed to implementing recommendations from other countries that Manila only initially noted, after the completion of the necessary legislative and other domestic processes.

"It is very regrettable that some still do not grasp the full import of the deadly connections between illegal narcotics and terrorism, and of the threat that narco-politics poses to our national security and the very fabric of our society," Garcia said.

"It is ironic that many of these States joining the statement are the very same States that are the sources of arms, bombs, machines and mercenaries that maim, kill and massacre thousands of people all over the world, not only during their colonial past, but even up to today," she pointed out.

Despite the criticism, Almojuela said the Philippines will continue to engage in genuine and constructive dialogue on the remaining concerns and challenges in the field of human rights.