Palace finds UN Rapporteur’s call ‘irresponsible’

MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday slammed United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) Michel Forst for his "irresponsible" call to end all the alleged forms of violence against human rights defenders.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Forst's recent call is not only reckless but irresponsible as well for it not only demeans the integrity of UNSR system but the entire UN mechanism itself.

We are fed up with this practice of using the UN as a platform to parrot baseless criticisms of local interest groups who are supported by resentful politicians belonging to the opposition, Panelo said.

For too long has the UN been used by these detractors as a tool for vilification. UNSRs should be less gullible as this reinforces the President's contempt for them who have consistently manifested bias against the Philippines, he added.

Panelo said the Philippines' recent election for a fifth term as one of the UN's 165 member-states bolsters the country's position that respect for human rights and its advocates is being upheld by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

If Mr. Forst only checked his facts first, he would have known that organizations presenting themselves as so-called human rights defenders never had it so good under the Duterte administration, Panelo said.

He assured that human rights advocates in the Philippines continue to fully exercise all their rights to air issues and concerns related to their advocacies in an environment that is free and secure from any threat or harassment.

Panelo challenged the local groups that have been feeding the UNSR with false information to submit their alleged cases of violations against their members to proper authorities.

He said the Philippines has an Inter-Agency Committee created under Administrative Order No. 35 in 2012, which is tasked with handling cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances and other "grave violations" of the right to life and liberty.

Unless they can properly do so, we stand by our firm admonition of these groups to refrain from making a fool of these UNSRs, a mockery of the UN, as well as using their allegations as leverage to secure financial resources from over-trusting funding institutions, Panelo said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency