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Justice chief promises concrete actions on UN joint rights program

JUSTICE SECRETARY JESUS CRISPIN REMULLA — PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla vowed to take more concrete actions on human rights issues as the Philippines continues to work with the United Nations (UN) on addressing concerns raised by the international agency.

Mr. Remulla led the United Nations Joint Program (UNJP) Steering Committee meeting on Dec. 5, where technical working groups were formed to tackle human rights issues in the country, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement.

“I trust that all the implementing partners mutually share these commitments and thus we’ll be working together to realize our shared vision of human rights and real justice for all,” he said during the meeting held at the Manila Hotel.

The UN mechanism aims to focus on capacity-building on human rights protection in the country.

The government and the UN resident coordinator in the Philippines signed the UNJP.

The Justice department plans to link its website to the UNJP’s page to complement the information on the country’s human rights programs.

A separate social media page is also being planned on the partnership.

Mr. Remulla earlier said at least three UN special rapporteurs would visit the country to help develop these programs and bolster the country’s forensics capabilities.

The Philippines accepted 200 recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council, including investigating extralegal killings and protecting journalists.

Mr. Remulla said the Philippines has responded to more than half of the recommendations and would address the remaining 89 “in due course.”

More than 30 member-states of the UN Human Rights Council have urged the Philippines to do something about extralegal killings and human rights abuses in connection with the government’s drug war.

The UN Rights Committee has said the government should cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s probe of the anti-drug campaign.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has said the country’s probe of human rights abuses in the drug war lacked transparency.

At least 6,117 suspected drug dealers had been killed in police operations, according to data released by the Philippine government in June last year. Human rights groups estimate that as many as 30,000 suspects died. — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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