MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/30 May) – On the same day (May 29) that Chief Justice Renato C. Corona was judged guilty by the Senate sitting as an impeachment court of culpable violations of the constitution and betrayal of the public trust, the Aquino administration was also scheduled to face the universal periodic review by the UN of its human rights performance.
The review allows the UN to examine the Philippines’ compliance with its human rights treaty obligations.
The first time the Philippines underwent the review was in 2008, during the Arroyo administration which drew attention from the UN for the spate of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
In a report to the UN the Philippine government said the country’s human rights situation has improved.
However, the Philippine UPR Watch said that 76 cases of extrajudicial killings and nine cases of enforced disappearances have taken place under the Aquino government.
“No convictions of perpetrators have taken place under the Aquino administration,” the group added.
In a report posted this month on the website of the US Embassy in Manila, the State Department also said that impunity has persisted under the Aquino administration.
“The NGO Karapatan recorded 39 victims of extrajudicial killings by government forces in 2011, compared with 46 victims in 2010. The credible ‘Report on Philippine Extrajudicial Killings: 2001-2010’ recorded 21 extrajudicial-killing victims from January to August 2011, compared with 19 victims in the comparable period in 2010,” it said.
Last week, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said there has been no marked improvement in the country’s human rights performance since 2008.
In a statement posted on its website, Human Rights Watch said the administration of President Benigno Aquino III “has failed to take significant measures to prosecute members of the military, police, and militias implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances.”
“In particular, the government’s claims of progress in some areas – such as training state security forces to respect human rights – deflect attention from the more serious problem of failing to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible for abuses,” the group said.
It urged United Nations member countries to call on the Philippine government during its universal periodic review at the UN Human Rights Council to honor its commitments to ensure accountability for serious human rights abuses. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)