ASEAN recognizes PH efforts to address human right issues
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has recognized Manila's efforts to establish mechanisms and address human rights issues related to its anti-illegal drugs campaign.
During the 44th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on Tuesday, Vietnam's diplomatic mission in Geneva, on behalf of the bloc, welcomed the country's intent to further widen engagement with the United Nations (UN).
"We note the information provided on technical cooperation with international partners along with the NHRI (national human rights institution) and civil society, enhancement of rule of law and national accountability mechanisms," Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of Vietnam's Permanent Mission to the UN said.
"We are pleased to note the Philippines' readiness to engage OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) in further strengthening its national mechanism on addressing extrajudicial killings, creating a monitoring system to document human rights violations among the police force."
During the session, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disclosed that an inter-agency panel has been formed to look into the 5,655 anti-drug operations in the Philippines where deaths occurred.
Guevarra noted that the Philippine National Police (PNP), whether or not there are complaints, is obliged to probe acts that resulted in deaths.
The review panel, external to the PNP, will re-evaluate the cases and engage all families concerned.
He said the Commission on Human Rights, the Philippines' NHRI, will also be involved as an independent monitoring body.
The working group is scheduled to release a report by November 2020.
In his statement, Guevarra noted that the government takes each report with the diligence it deserves.
"Claims that there is impunity or near-impunity in the country find no anchor in a system that provides every avenue to examine, establish, and pursue a claim of wrongdoing by a State actor if such claim is substantiated with facts," he said.