April 23, 2024

The country will consider recommendations made during the recently concluded fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines human rights situation in Geneva, Switzerland, according to Department of Justice Sec. Jesus Crispin Remulla who headed the delegation.

Remulla said the Philippines accepted 200 of the recommendations and will have until December to submit the government’s position on the 297 total recommendations made during the UPR, a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“What we did not were those that were culturally reprehensible,” Remulla said.

Remulla said they took exception to over-the-counter abortion drugs and automatically categorizing drug war deaths as extrajudicial killings.

 He said the government is already reviewing suspicious deaths arising from the campaign against illegal drugs.

“That’s something we are doing something about already. The alleged killings in the drug war, we’re doing something about that,” he said. “I think that it’s very obvious we are more open now.”

In the previous UPR, Remulla said 103 out of 257 recommendations were accepted, including those about press freedom.

On rejoining the International Criminal Court (ICC), he said all concerned sectors must be consulted.

“They are telling us to rejoin the ICC in their recommendation. That’s already something that you have to consult every sector. I have to consult former president (Rodrigo) Duterte, the Senate, and everybody who wishes to look into rejoining the ICC because as far as we are concerned, we are not Sudan or an African country in trouble that has no government running the show,” he said.

“We always think if it is practical, necessary or beneficial for our country. We don’t jump in and say because I said it, I’ll do it.”

The UPR involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 U.N. members and provides an opportunity for all states to present their actions to improve the human rights situation.

The Philippines was with 13 other states – Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom – during the 41st Session of the UPR Working Group that ended Nov. 18.

The Philippines also participated in the UPR in 2008, 2012, and 2017. – PNA