UN rights review: PH must lift conditions on rapporteur probe

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(Photo: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — Member states adopted late Thursday evening the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) draft report regarding the human rights situation in the Philippines.

The draft, presented by the "troika" composed of Switzerland, Paraguay and Kenya, contained 257 recommendations after scrutinizing a presentation by a Filipino delegation in Geneva last Monday.

Related: PH delegation defends drug war at UN in Geneva

Among the many recommendations was that the Philippines should lift its conditions and accept a probe by a United Nations rapporteur into the human rights situation in the country.

Related: Cayetano: UN rapporteur not fit to probe drug war

The report — drafted by the 47-member UPR Working Group — also urged the government to investigate all enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

Regarding the country's war on illegal drugs, the draft report said the government should continue its efforts to protect its people from the threat of drugs while upholding human rights values.

It also said that the Philippines should not reimpose the death penalty and should maintain the protection of the right to life, given that the country had committed to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who co-chaired the Philippine team with Sen. Alan Cayetano, expressed gratitude towards the troika, the secretariat and all the 95-member states for their efforts in reviewing and recommending on the progress in the country's human rights situation, and in identiying areas for improvement.

Guevarra said, the positive comments highlighting the progress of the country's efforts in upholding human rights were very encouraging. He also assured the working group that the presidential human rights committee will be convened to review and determine their course of action with regard to the recommendations.

Just like what Cayetano presented, Guevarra also defended the Philippines' ongoing campaign against illegal drugs, which was one of the major concerns of the member states.

He also thanked the ASEAN neighbors, whom he said were quite aware of the gravity of illegal drug problem in the Philippines — with a special mention of China and Japan for their support.

The draft report will be circulated by e-mail to all member states until Friday. They will then be given until May 26 to make editorial changes to the summary of report, before submitting this to the secretariat.