The Online Forum on UN Report on the Philippine Human Rights Situation an online event organized by the Europe Network For Justice and Peace in the Philippines (ENJPP) last June 5, 2020, as a way to give a Peoples’ Assessment of the recently released document entitled “Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Philippines.” The report was officially released last June 4, 2020, during the 44th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Aware of the impact of the report on the current situation in the Philippines, the ENJPP immediately initiated the online forum, facilitating presentations and discussion of the said document.
The online forum was moderated by Bishop Antonio Nercua Ablon, IFI, currently the Bishop-Chaplain for the Filipino communities in Europe; providing the perspective and the social significance of the document vis-à-vis the Philippine situation. The panelists include the following: Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and the founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines; Connie Ledesma, member Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP); Atty. Edre Olalia, President of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and Peter Murphy, Chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (Australian-Filipino Union Link).
“The report is highly significant, relevant, and timely for the Filipino people concerning the ongoing situation and what needs to be done. It is mainly and essentially a condemnation of human rights violations and impunity under the Duterte regime,” said Prof. Jose Maria Sison. Concretely pointing out the many incongruities of the repressive Duterte administration, he further said “The whole report serves to expose and oppose the objective of
Duterte in railroading the so-called anti-terrorism bill which should be more appropriately called a bill of state terrorism and which practically seeks to replace the bill of rights. This bill is full of unconstitutional provisions and is aimed at the perpetration of far more human rights violations with greater impunity.”
“I was impressed by the detail, the amount of research, and the up-to-date data of the report… But I would like some comments, regarding the violations of the New People‘s Army, we need to verify and correct some area of the report, especially on accusing the NPA on killings, abductions, recruitment of children and extortions. We have a policy, that no one below 18 years old are allowed to join the NPA, the UN Human Rights can clarify this with us with our existing committees. We need to know our supposed violations, so we can verify; so we can investigate, they need to give us facts, accusing us is not fair and just… At least, the report has gotten the world’s attention has become conscious of the situation,” said Connie Ledesma
“This report is damaging to the credibility of the Duterte regime, this will degrade the reputation of Duterte’s government even more, in the international community… The killing of children and young people in the war-on-drugs, and in the area of political repression… I believed that the crucial audience right now, the governments of the world, the other members of the United Nations, will take this report extremely more seriously…” said Peter Murphy from Australia.
Atty. Edre Olalia said “I would like to point out in the report, that it mandates the office of the High Commissioner to continue monitoring and documenting the human rights situation in the country and to regularly report to the Council… The report is a damning indictment of the human rights situation in the Philippines.”
In his concluding message, Prof. Jose Maria Sison said: “It is clear that the report gives ground to the people to take concerted actions against the regime up to the ouster of the regime! We are outraged by the many criminal acts of the Duterte regime: Treason, butchery, plunder, and open stealing of the public funds in the name of assisting the people and yet no assistance coming to the people. Thievery is so clear!”
Summarizing the presentations, Br. Tagoy Jakosalem, representing Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) – Europe said, “Our summary reading: This report is a condemnation of the Duterte regime of the violent War on Drugs; and the war on the Poor, the logic of the report is what the Duterte government is committing a crime against humanity. The accountability of the Duterte regime and the State Forces (AFP/PNP) to the victims of human rights violations and the Filipino people. As commonly stated by our presenters, this report is affirming the criminality of the Duterte regime. And also, our role to circulate and share the report, allowing them to read and know the truth of Duterte’s wrongdoings and the condemnation of the world through the UN. This report is helpful for us in our work with the Filipino people in the ouster of Duterte, to consistently Serve the People. We remain critical and be vigilant and even persistent in our calls. Our participation in UN investigations must consistently be pursued with our rich data from the ground, aware of our very people affected and marginalized by the US-Duterte fascist regime.”
The Online Forum facilitated concrete response from the rich queries of the online participants, reaching a total number of 2,100 plus viewers all over the globe. The Online Forum ended with the word of thanks from the moderator, Bishop Antonio Nercua Ablon, with an announcement of the succeeding activities on relevant issues.