UN experts call for independent PH probe on 'sharp deterioration' in human rights

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 7) — A group of 11 human rights experts within the United Nations Human Rights Council have called for the international body to investigate human rights violations in the Philippines.

In a joint statement, they cited a "sharp deterioration in the situation of human rights across the country, including sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights".

They added that the government seems unwilling to investigate the alleged human rights violations in the country.

"The Government has shown no indication that they will step up to fulfill their obligation to conduct prompt and full investigations into these cases, and to hold perpetrators accountable in order to do justice for victims and to prevent reoccurrence of violations," the experts said.

They added that the leaving the International Criminal Court could be a sign of the government "seeking to evade scrutiny and reject accountability."

The independent investigation will focus on human rights violations in the Philippines, including the unlawful deaths in the context of the drug war, the alleged killings of human rights activists, threats to journalism and the allegedly undermined independence of the judiciary.

The experts also flagged President Rodrigo Duterte's sexist and violent rhetoric, and his threats against the indigenous Lumad community.

READ: Duterte threatens to bomb Lumad schools

The Commission on Human Rights welcomed "the call of the UN Human Rights Experts for an inquiry or special mechanism to be undertaken by the UN Human Rights Council so that the issues & concerns regarding the human rights situation in this country are fully clarified in order for the Philippines to fully comply with international human rights standards," CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon told CNN Philippines.

The experts have, to date, raised their concerns with the Philippine government 33 times since 2016.

The experts include Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, whom Duterte has repeatedly lambasted in his speeches.

Another expert is Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people. She is from the Cordillera Kankana-ey people, and was appointed by the UN in 2014.

The other experts are:

- Meskerem Geset Techane, chair of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice

- Hilal Elver, special rapporteur on the right to food

- Michel Forst, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

- David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

- Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé, special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

- José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, chair-rapporteur, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

- Dainius Pῡras, special rapporteur on the right to health

- Dubravka Šimonović, special rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

- Diego García-Sayán, special rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

Last year, the Philippines was granted another three-year term in the Council.

READ: PH wins UN Human Rights Council seat

CNN Philippines correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report.