By UPR Watch Philippines
Geneva, Switzerland – Members of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation arrived in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday, May 4, 2017, to attend the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the Philippines by the UN Human Rights Council. The delegation will be meeting with Geneva-based missions to put forward several issues and recommendations pertaining to human rights issues during the period under review, which covers the last four years of the Aquino government and the first six months of the Duterte administration.
The group will highlight the following recommendations in their meetings and presentations:
• Put an end to extrajudicial killings including those related to the war on drugs, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture, harassment and other human rights violations.
• Stop the implementation of counter-insurgency programs that target human rights defenders and civilians. Stop operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in communities and immediately pull-out military units. Dismantle and disarm the paramilitary groups.
• Unconditional release of all political prisoners and the halt to criminalisation of human rights defenders.
• Continue peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and with groups in Mindanao (Southern Philippines) struggling for self-determination.
• Protect indigenous peoples’ inherent, prior, existing and inalienable right to ancestral lands and their indivisible, inter-related and interdependent right to self-determination as reflected in international declarations and conventions, and review all conflicting domestic laws, including the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.
• Improve the jail management and penology system in the country.
• Conduct a review of the implementation of the Magna Carta on Women.
• Issue invitations to UN special procedures mandate holders, including those with pending requests.
The delegation will also hold meetings with church groups in Europe and organize public events and fora with the Filipino community in Switzerland and other parts of Europe.
Members of the delegation already in Geneva include Atty. Ephraim Cortez of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Jigs Clamor (KARAPATAN), Sharon Cabusao-Silva (GABRIELA), Bro. Ciriaco Santiago, CssR (Rise Up), Nardy Sabino (Promotion of Church People’s Response), Pastor Jerome Baris (UCCP), Jojo Guan (Center for Women’s Resources), Pia Malayao (KATRIBU) and Beverly Longid (Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao