Two weeks before the UN General Assembly (UNGA) votes to elect 14 members of the Human Rights Council, 12 of its current members and eight of the 18 candidates running for election have been cited by a UN Secretary-General report for carrying out reprisals against human rights defenders engaging with the UN. We call on States to only vote for candidates that support the work of human rights defenders and their vital engagement at the UN.
Since President Duterte’s election in May 2016, human rights defenders in the Philippines have been subject to increased violence and killings, the criminal justice system is abused and laws, such as the Anti-Terrorism law are being used to grant the Government excessive and unchecked powers to silence and suppress them.
In the prevailing climate of impunity and attacks against human rights defenders, human rights organisations in the country continue to lobby for the passage of a law for the recognition and protection of human rights defenders. That, if passed, would constitute a significant development for their protection.
‘We urge the government of the Philippines to end the targeting of human rights defenders, whose work is crucial to the safeguarding and protection of human rights in the Philippines’, said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy. ‘Together with UN Special Procedures and over 500 human rights advocates we strongly condemn these killings and echo the call for an independent investigation mechanism into the human rights situation in the Philippines.’
Contact: Tess McEvoy, [email protected]
Photo: Cristina Palabay/Facebook
On 14 September 2022, the UN Secretary-General released his annual report on reprisals and intimidation against individuals and groups seeking to cooperate with the UN on human rights. Once again, the report identifies a high number of threats and attacks aimed at retaliating against defenders and discouraging cooperation with the UN.
Eleven States vying for seats at the UN Human Rights Council for 2023-2025 joined ISHR and Amnesty International’s annual pledging event, outlining their commitments to advancing the human rights agenda and fielding questions from civil society.