MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s resolution calling for “technical assistance and capacity-building” for domestic efforts on human rights falls short of the expectations for an actual investigation into killings in the country, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Friday.
“It really falls short of the expectation of the human rights community,” CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“It does fall short but there is still room for improvement and this resolution actually provides a chance for the Philippine government to show its sincerity, to show that it can demonstrate credible efforts toward accountability, particularly here in the Philippines,” she added.
The resolution adopted during the council’s 45th session in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday (Manila time), urges High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to “provide support for the country in the continued fulfillment of its international human rights obligations and commitments.”
It likewise urged member states and relevant UN agencies to “encourage and support technical cooperation between the Philippine government and OHCHR.”
Asked if the UNHRC is giving away too many chances for the Duterte government for the improvement of the human rights situation in the country even with the death toll in the so-called drug war, Gomez-Dumpit said: “That’s how the human rights council works, and this is a multilateral body. It is a state-led body, so that chance is being offered to them.”
“If you will take note of the technical cooperation, at the end of it the operational paragraph says that the High Commissioner will report orally one year after. This is something we are anticipating, so they have one year to be able to demonstrate credible efforts on the ground,” she added.
Malacañang welcomed on Thursday the offer of technical assistance from the UNHRC and vowed full cooperation to the council.
But for Gomez-Dumpit, this commitment from the Philippine government should be “translated into certain indicators.”
“We will have a list and continue monitoring if the situation on the ground is improving,” she said.
She also noted that expressions of the government for engagement with the UNHRC are just “impressions,” pointing out that that there has been no marked improvement on the human rights situation in the country.
“There is an opening that they are trying to engage with the UN but these are just impressions. As I have said, these are just impressions, so how that can translate into concrete actions is yet to be seen,” the CHR official said.
“Killings still continue, harassment is still being propagated, so let’s see the change in the action of government not only in terms of these assertions and impressions that we are open, we vow full cooperation. How can that be translated?” she added.