Independent int’l probe
on human rights violations in PH concludes with damning evidence vs.
Duterte, calls for a UN-led investigation
September 13, 2021
MANILA – People’s
organisations and civil society groups from all over the world have
urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to conduct a
probe on human rights violations in the Philippines under President
Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the launch of its Third Report last September
INVESTIGATE PH, an
independent investigation on human rights violations in the
Philippines, aims to substantiate the report on the Philippine
rights situation released by the Office of the High Commissioner on
Human Rights (OHCHR) last June 2020 to help facilitate international
The Third Report of
INVESTIGATE PH examined violations of the economic, social and
cultural rights of the Filipino people, and the denial of the
people's rights to self-determination, development and peace. It
found that the Duterte government was deliberately violating these
rights through its submission to U.S domination and neoliberal
economic policies. It exposed the Philippine government ending peace
talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
in November 2017, under pressure from U.S. President Trump.
Following this decision, seven peace consultants were killed by
state security forces or unidentified assailants, with five of the
seven being murdered after the June 2020 OHCHR report.
The launch of the report,
which coincides with the opening of the 48th Regular Session of the
UNHRC, was led by the High Commissioners of the investigation,
composed of parliamentarians, lawyers, religious leaders and
activists from across the world. Human rights defenders,
journalists, and various civil society organizations also joined.
“It is imperative that the
Council heed the Filipino people’s call to conduct a probe on the
rights violation under the Duterte administration amid impunity and
failure of domestic mechanisms to provide redress to victims and
hold perpetrators accountable.” Atty. Jeanne Mirer said. Atty. Mirer
of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers is one of the
The report concluded that
human rights violations in the Philippines have intensified since
the release of the June 2020 OHCHR report.
It showed that there was a
50 to 76 percent increase in drug war killings per month during the
COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
The report also cited
Duterte’s “whole-of-nation” approach to counterinsurgency led by the
National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)
which utilizes local and national institutions to wage attacks
against human rights defenders, people’s organisations and civil
society through mass arrests and detention on trumped-up charges,
“red-tagging”, and state-perpetrated killings.
The abuses have been
worsened by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which has become a main
instrument in the counterinsurgency program and is used to vilify
activists and their organisations and to criminalize dissent.
The Rev. Dr. Chris
Ferguson of the World Communion of Reformed Churches said: “The
Duterte administration’s systematic attacks against leaders of
peasant and Indigenous People’s communities, peace consultants,
human rights defenders, religious leaders and organizations that are
fighting for people’s rights and pushing for meaningful social
change should be condemned by the international community. It is our
moral responsibility to exhaust all means to put an end to such
atrocious acts and help victims’ in their struggle for justice.”
The three Reports produced
by INVESTIGATE PH this year examine over 50 emblematic cases of
human rights violations under Duterte, including the massacres of
nine Tumandok Indigenous Peoples last December 30, 2020 and of nine
activists on a “Bloody Sunday” last March 7, 2021.
INVESTIGATE PH began its
investigation on human rights violations under the Duterte
administration last December 2020. It released two previous reports
last March and July 2021 respectively.
“The conclusion of our
investigation and the final outcome report exposes how domestic
mechanisms fail victims. As we anticipate the progress report on the
OHCHR’s technical assistance on human rights to the Philippine
government, we, again, call on the High Commissioner and the Council
to mobilise international mechanisms to help victims and hold
Duterte and other state perpetrators accountable.” The OHCHR will
report on the progress of the technical cooperation with the
Philippine government at the 48th UNHRC session on October 7.
Download the Third Report and