GENEVA — The Philippines on Saturday welcomed the final adoption of its human rights report card by the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it affirms Manila’s commitment to its human rights obligations.
The 47-member body adopted Friday the country’s Third Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report in Geneva.
“The final adoption of our UPR Report during the 36th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva demonstrates that the Philippines has nothing to hide with its human rights record,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement from New York where he is attending the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.
The UPR of the UN Human Rights Council is the world’s principal peer review mechanism where member-states come together to discuss their human rights policies and plans and exchange views on how to improve human rights through international cooperation. The process is transparent and member-states interact as sovereign equals.
“The Philippines will remain resolute in its respect for and protection of human rights as it strives to improve the lives and welfare of each and every Filipino by protecting them from the scourges of drugs and criminality,” Cayetano said.
The adoption is basically part of the UPR process where member-states confirm which recommendations to accept from those made when then Senator Cayetano presented the Philippine UPR report before the Council in Geneva in May.
The Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva said the report was warmly welcomed by other ASEAN member-states Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Thailand, which all commended the country’s human rights achievements.
The Philippine Mission said the 2017 report is the third to be adopted by the council, which also adopted the Philippine UPR reports in 2008 and 2012.
“This shows the full engagement of the Philippines with the UN Human Rights Council as the most important international human rights machinery,” said Ambassador Evan Garcia, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.
He said the Philippines committed to fully accept 103 out of the 257 recommendations it received, after a careful review and inclusive consultation with inputs from various stakeholders, especially from representatives from the State’s executive, legislative and judicial departments, was done.
“The accepted recommendations mirrored the recommending States’ understanding of the current human rights situation in the Philippines, recognized and respected the State as currently implementing or having implemented them, and were supportive of the Philippines’ pursuit of human rights aimed at uplifting human dignity,” Ambassador Garcia added.
The Philippines fully accepted the recommendations that pertained to the sustainable protection of family and society in general, such as the preservation of the sanctity of family life, effective advocacy of economic and social rights through development, mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change, eradication of poverty, and improvements to access to health care and public education.
It also accepted those recommendations aimed at enhancing the current capacities of the country to protect the right to life, liberty and property through the rule of law and accessibility of victims to justice in pursuit of anti-abortion initiatives, eradication of all forms of slavery, counter-terrorism efforts, and the anti-illegal drugs campaign.