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UN rights body needs to renew Yemen mandate; strengthen scrutiny of Philippines

Item 10 General Debate - HRC48

Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019. © 2019 Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP

While we welcome the High Commissioner’s oral update on Yemen, it is clear that the provision of technical assistance to the National Commission under item 10 is, without more, insufficient to address the gravity and scale of the rights crisis in the country.

The ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Yemen and violations and abuses by all parties to the conflict continue unabated.  It is vital that item 10 technical assistance be supplemented by renewing the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts, which remains the only international, impartial, and independent body reporting on rights violations and abuses in Yemen.  

Failing to renew the mandate when it is still urgently needed would be a stain on the credibility of the Council and a slap in the face to victims.  Rather than allowing any party to the conflict to evade scrutiny for its own violations, HRC member states should stand with the people of Yemen by renewing the GEE’s mandate at this critical time.  

We reiterate that the situation in the Philippines still demands action by the Human Rights Council to pressure the government to stop the killings in its “war on drugs,” which continue unabated. While the joint human rights program of the UN and the Philippine government aims to address the systemic and institutional human rights issues in the country, the utmost priority is for these killings to end, and for those responsible to be brought to justice. The recent action by the International Criminal Court to pursue investigations of crimes against humanity in the anti-drug campaign is welcome, but this has not deterred the Duterte administration from committing grave crimes. Moreover, in addition to “drug war” abuses,” extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, among others, targeting activists, rights defenders, and journalists remain rampant.

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