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Statement at Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner report on the Philippines

51st session of the UN Human Rights Council

Thank you, Mr. President. 

Between July 1 and Sept. 30, at least 90 individuals were killed in the Philippines in drug-related violence. That’s one death every day since Ferdinand Marcos Jr. became president. Since his inauguration, serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, and harassment of activists have continued. The killing of a journalist, Percival Mabasa, occurred just the other day. Former senator Leila de Lima remains detained for more than six years on fabricated charges. The report by High Commissioner underscored that impunity persists and recommended continued monitoring and reporting to the Human Rights Council. 

Despite the obvious need for action, this session of the Council is about to end on a very disheartening note: No resolution has been presented to ensure continued scrutiny of the Philippines. Instead of putting the Philippine government on notice, the Council will be handing President Marcos an opportunity to make self-serving claims about his yet unseen commitment to human rights. 

This outcome also reflects poorly on the countries, led by Iceland, that had rallied behind civil society groups and victims of abuses in 2020 to pass the resolution that created the Philippines-UN Joint Program to promote human rights. 

Make no mistake: the human rights situation in the Philippines remains dire. Improving it requires sustained and committed action by this Council and concerned states. This failure by the Council will be hardest felt by human rights groups and victims of human rights violations who have long pinned their hopes on the Council for change. 

Thank you.

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