PH welcomes UN support to gov’t human rights efforts

The Philippine government on October 12, 2020, welcomed the passage of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution expressing support and cooperation for the country’s efforts to protect human rights.

“The UNHRC resolution is a welcome development on the part of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) Advocacy Cluster headed by theDepartment of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). This move is a recognition that the government’s approach against illegal drugs is holistic. We are not only focusing on the supply reduction side but also on the demand reduction aspect,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año in a statement..

Adopted during the council’s 45th session in Geneva, Switzerland, the UNHRC resolution called for technical assistance and capacity building for domestic efforts on human rights between the Philippine government and the Office of Human Rights Council (OHCHR).

A­ño said the proposed move further strengthens the Department’s unwavering commitment to the campaign against the illegal drugs menace in the country while observing and protecting the human rights of all individuals. He added that the DILG will also give more emphasis on community-based drug rehabilitation efforts.

“The Department has been steadfast in its commitment to eradicating the illegal drugs using a whole-of-nation approach to ensure that human rights protection is upheld in the performance of the sworn duties by all public servants under the DILG organization,” he added.

The DILG chief assured the public that even amidst the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, the Department is unwavering in facing the illegal drug problem in the country based on a systematic analysis of the data gathered from the Anti-Illegal Drugs Information System (AIDIS) which is shared among the different drug agencies.

He earlier ordered the PNP to tighten up the illegal drugs campaign with the easing of community quarantine in greater parts of the country as the trend of Covid-19 cases slows down daily.

Noting that some illegal drugs users have forcibly withdrawn due to lack of supply during the quarantine, Año emphasized that all forms of illegal drugs have to be stopped at all stages of the supply chain, from the production of raw materials to the distribution on the street.

“Sa gitna na malaking krisis na kinakaharap ng maraming bansa dahil sa pandemya, napakalaking ginhawa ang maidudulot ng pagtutulungan na inilalatag ng UNHCR para tuluyan na mapagtagumpayan ang illegal na droga sa bansa sa tulong ng lahat ng mga attached agencies ng DILG at ng iba pang mga sangay ng gobyerno. Basta’t sama-sama at may disiplina, kayang kaya! (Amid a major crisis the country is facing due to the pandemic, the call of UNHCR for cooperation between the attached agencies of the DILG and other branches of government in fighting the illegal drug problem is a sigh of relief. As long as there is discipline and cooperation, we can do it),” Año said.

The 47-member UNHRC acknowledged the country’s strong and open collaboration with the United Nations, particularly in the areas of the rule of law, justice, law enforcement, and accountability processes at the invitation of the government and, under national priorities.

Among the proposed areas of cooperation cited in the said UNHRC resolution are technical assistance and capacity-building, domestic investigative and accountability measures, data gathering on alleged police violations, civic space and engagement with civil society and the Commission on Human Rights, national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up, counter-terrorism legislation, and human rights-based approached to drug control.