Work with gov’t, DFA tells rights group

MANILA Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday urged the Human Rights Watch (HRW) to work and engage with the Philippines as the advocacy group mounted criticisms on Manila's win at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

"Tapos na botohan (The voting period ended). So, why don't they just work with us rather them work against us," Cayetano said.

"Human rights, it's not confrontational unless you don't have a choice. On human rights issues, if the subject in question is willing to talk, willing to listen, willing to implement reform, they (HRW) should engage with them," he added in Filipino.

HRW UN Director Louis Charbonneau earlier called the UNHRC election a "mockery," claiming the country's vote, including those of Eritrea, Bahrain, and Cameroon is "devoid of competition."

Cayetano, meanwhile, said the HRW's series of accusation has no basis.

"We've always told these non-government organizations, whether they are Amnesty International, whether they are Human Rights Watch (to) come here, investigate, ask the people, see what's really happening. Pero hindi, gusto nila conclusion na wala naman basis (But no, they stick to their conclusion that has no basis)."

On Saturday, the Philippines was able to secure another term as a member of the UNHRC with 165 out of the 192 votes cast during elections in New York City.

With Manila's win, the Philippines will get to serve another three-year term in the 47-member Council based in Geneva from 2019 to 2021. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency