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Churches-Backed Group Cites Rights Abuses at Philippines Human Rights Council Review
Contact: World Council of Churches Media Office, +41 79 507 6363; www.oikoumene.org/press
GENEVA, June 12, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Philippines has long been noticed for crimes committed against its people, but now human rights violations of the government of President Roderigo Duterte are coming under scrutiny at the Human Rights Council after submissions made by church-backed civil society groups.
Photo: Opening of the Exhibit on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines at the Ecumenical centre in Geneva, 05 May, 2017 ©WCC
"Continuing assaults on people's rights indicate the urgency for just and lasting peace in the Philippines," said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor, in a press briefing of human rights defenders before the council began in May.
He spoke at the press briefing as the groups were set to participate in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland on 8 May, 2017.
"There is a need to make the Benigno Aquino III regime accountable for the crimes it has committed against the people, while pursuing the call for the Duterte government to stop dismissing and start addressing issues on rights violations and the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines," said Clamor.
The UPR is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council which was established by  UN General Assembly resolution in 2006.
It periodically examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN Member States and is intended to complement, not duplicate, the work of other human rights mechanisms, including the human rights treaty bodies.
It is the first international human rights mechanism to address all countries and all human rights, and five people involved with Philippine UPR Watch spoke at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 9 May.
Karapatan and Front Line Defenders, which works worldwide on the security and protection of human rights defenders at risk, released a statement on the Philippines on 16 May on the recent Philippines UPR.
"Continuing assaults on people's rights indicate the urgency for just and lasting peace in the Philippines," it said.
In a recent letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Karapatan noted that 474 human rights defenders were killed during the Arroyo presidency, from 2001-2010; 139 during the Aquino presidency from 2010-2016; while 33 have been killed since President Duterte came to power in July 2016 giving a total of 646 killed in a 16-year period.
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.