Posts Tagged ‘Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’

Philippines’ Shame and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 12, 2018

Seventy years ago last Monday, on Dec. 10, 1948, the Philippines was one of the first 48 nations to sign what would become the world’s most translated document: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

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It contains “perhaps the most resonant and beautiful words of any international agreement, that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’” said former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

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These economic, social, political, cultural and civic rights “are inalienable entitlements of all people, at all times, and in all places,” he added.

Those were the heady days. The human rights situation in the world today, alas, runs in the opposite direction, with the very notion itself under attack, and democracy in retreat in many parts of the globe.


Who knew the Philippines, once a beacon of the freedom struggle in Asia and a charter supporter of the UDHR, would end up where it is now — with a President who looks at the idea of human rights with outright hostility, and has responded to any criticism of his worldview and governance with threats of violence and repression?

As late as October this year, President Duterte was still at it, spewing venom against human rights defenders both here and abroad.

If his foreign critics were in the country, he said, he would have them “salvaged” — the Marcos-era term for summary killings.

How the President said it in the vernacular was even more unsettling: “Pakabugok nitong mga put*ng in*ng ’to oy. Patawarin sana sila ng… Kaya kung dito ’yan sa Pilipinas, sinalvage ko na ’yan. Anak ng p*ta.”

The fact that the country’s Commission on Human Rights is an office established by the 1987 Constitution, reflecting the sovereign importance the Constitution places on the protection and preservation of the rights and freedoms of citizens, appears to be of no consequence to Mr. Duterte.

In November last year, perorating again about his war on drugs, the President said: “Wala tayong patawad diyan. Wala ’yang human rights, wala ’yan. Si Gascon, ah wala ’yan, sipain ko pa ’yan (We’d be unforgiving. Human rights — that’s nothing. Gascon, I’ll even kick him).”

Chito Gascon is the chair of the Commission on Human Rights.

The President also threatened to slap UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard when she raised grave concerns over the conduct of the drug war.

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Al-Hussein and the European Union have been the subject of invective, while peace advocates have been labeled “terrorists.”

Various individuals, institutions and media who have dared criticize the Duterte administration’s policies have been threatened and vilified, if not by Malacañang, then by the President’s army of social media partisans, who express scorn for human rights but unhesitatingly claim due process for themselves when accountability is asked of them and their patrons.

“Being a human rights defender in a country such as the Philippines… means putting oneself in the line of fire,” said Cristina Palabay of the human rights alliance Karapatan.

Indeed, the country has earned for itself a discreditable place as the second deadliest country in the world, and the most dangerous in Asia, for human rights workers, especially land and environmental defenders, according to Global Witness, an international nongovernment organization focusing on human rights abuses and corruption.

Per Global Witness’ tally, nine land and environmental defenders were killed in the Philippines in the first half of 2018 alone.

Last year, 48 environmentalists were killed in the country, an almost twofold increase from the 28 killings recorded in 2016.

The reasons behind the surge in the killings, said the watchdog, include “… a president who is brazenly antihuman rights, the militarization of communities, multiple armed groups and the failure of government bodies to provide protection for at-risk activists.”

Elsewhere in the world, a survey by the London-based Business and Human Rights Resource Center recorded a 34-percent global rise in attacks against human rights activists in 2017, including 120 alleged murders and hundreds of cases involving threats, assaults and intimidation.

Victims included unionists, protesters, whistleblowers, indigenous communities, lawyers and NGOs fighting for human rights and the accountability of corporate interests.

The Philippines needn’t have joined that ignoble bandwagon; the country was one of the original world champions of human rights, and has a resounding Bill of Rights in its Constitution.

Now it’s become a leading light of another alliance altogether — the world’s antihuman rights club. For shame.


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India says Pakistan tries to hide the monster of terror that Pakistan itself has created to destabilize its neighbours

September 30, 2018

Pakistan alleging India’s role in school terror attack shows its “desperate attempt to look away from monster of terror it has created.”

“Host And Patron” Of UN-Designated Terrorists: India Rips Into Pak At UN

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Eenam Gambhir, India’s First Secretary in Permanent Mission of India to UN

Taking a strong stand at the United Nations General Assembly, India on Saturday called out Pakistan after the country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi alleged that New Delhi was involved in the Peshawar school terror attack in 2014. While rejecting Mr Qureshi’s statement, Eenam Gambhir, India’s First Secretary in Permanent Mission of India to UN, said it was the “most outrageous and preposterous allegation.”

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Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi. FILE photo – Credit Tanveer Shahzad, White Star

Exercising the Right to Reply at the UNGA, Ms Gambhir said, “Let me recollect for Pakistan’s new government, the out-pouring of sorrow and pain in India that followed the massacre of innocent school children. India’s parliament had expressed solidarity while paying respect to the memory of those killed. Schools all over India had observed two minutes silence in their memory.”

Dismissing Pakistan’s claim of fighting terrorism, Ms Gambhir said, “Can Pakistan deny that it’s the host and patron of 132 of the UN designated terrorists, 22 terrorist entities sanctioned under the 1267 and 1988 UN Security Council Sanctions Regime as of today?”

Sayed Akbaruddin, India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, tweeted Ms Gambhir’s strong fact-check reply to the Pakistan Foreign Minister.

Syed Akbaruddin


Ready for a Quick Quiz Question?

Who hosts 132 @UN designated terrorists & patronises 22 entities sanctioned under @UN Security Council 1267 & 1988 resolution regimes?

Young @IndiaUNNewYork diplomat has the answer. 

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Hafiz Saeed

Pakistan alleging India’s role in the school terror attack shows the country’s “desperate attempt to look away from monster of terror that Pakistan itself has created to destabilize its neighbours, said the Indian diplomat. Pointing out that the 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who is a UN designated terrorist, enjoys “a free run” in Pakistan, Ms Gambhir said, “Pakistan must demonstrate that it has moved beyond the narrative of distortion, deception and deceit.”

Slamming Mr Qureshi’s statement that India cancelled talks the between the foreign ministers of the two countries on “flimsy grounds”, Ms Gambhir said, “The new Foreign Minister chose to term the gruesome killing our security personnel by Pakistani sponsored terrorists as flimsy grounds. While it may not be the case for Pakistan but for India every loss of life counts. India believes talks and terror can’t go together.”

India had cancelled the proposed talks between Sushma Swaraj and Mr Qureshi in New York, after three Indian security personnel were killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

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ZeidRa’ad Al-Hussein

Ms Gambhir rebutted the Pakistan Foreign Minister citing a report on Kashmir presented by Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. No UN member state had asked for the report, none supported it and no action was taken”, she said.

“Let me make it clear to the new government of Pakistan that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India,” said Ms Gambhir.

Ms Gambhir told the UNGA, “This morning the Indian delegation had come to the august assembly to listen attentively to the new Foreign Minister of Pakistan outline a new vision of the country. What we heard was a new Pakistan cast in the mould of old.”

Mr Qureshi spoke at the UNGA after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had launched a scathing attack on Islamabad for harbouring terrorists and “masking malevolence with duplicity”.

UN rights chief slams Israel over Gaza border deaths and nation-state bill — Reinforces belief that UN is biased against Israel since Hamas not mentioned

July 24, 2018

Hamas not criticized by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who also cites ‘serious concerns’ Israeli investigations do not comply with international standards

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ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein

The UN human rights chief sharply criticized Israel on Monday, calling recent killings by its soldiers during Palestinian demonstrations along the Gaza border fence “shocking.”

Recent months have seen an uptick in violence on Israel’s border with Gaza and violent clashes at weekly protests. Friday saw the killing of an IDF soldier by terrorists, massive airstrikes in Gaza and the firing of hundreds of rockets and mortars into Israel.

In addition, Palestinians in Gaza have launched many hundreds of kites, balloons and inflated latex condoms bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, into Israeli territory, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks and forests.

However, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said it was vital to address the root causes of the Gaza demonstrations. Zeid placed no responsibility on the Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip and openly calls for the destruction of Israel.

In a video address to the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, he said that the situation in Gaza has escalated dramatically in recent months with “the potential to generate threats to peace across a far broader region.”

Zeid, who heads the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it is essential for all parties to cooperate with the independent, international commission of inquiry into the recent deadly events in Gaza that his office is helping to establish. It was authorized by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on May 18 “to advance accountability” for the killings and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, he said.

He claimed that there are “serious concerns” that Israeli accountability mechanisms don’t comply with international standards of “independence, impartiality, and effectiveness.”

“Very few investigations ever occur,” he said. “In the rare cases where an investigation has led to an indictment, the sentence has been extremely lenient in light of the gravity of the crime committed.”

A Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops after burning tires near the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, during a protest east of Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip June 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Since the organized protests and clashes began along the Gaza border on March 30, more than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Dozens of the fatalities were members of terror groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have said. More than 4,000 were wounded.

Israel says its troops are defending the border and accuses Hamas of trying to carry out terror attacks under the cover of the protests.

The Israeli military says it has insisted its soldiers adhere to the rules of engagement to defend Israeli civilians and security infrastructure from attacks cloaked by the protests.

In addition to “grossly inadequate living conditions” caused by Israel’s blockade for the residents of Gaza, most of whom are descendants of refugees, restrictive measures have also been imposed by Egypt that have “exacerbated these conditions,” Zeid said.

Israel says it maintains the blockade to prevent Gaza’s Hamas rulers from importing weaponry.

Zeid added that the situation in Gaza may be “severely aggravated” in the coming months by the financial crisis facing the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, as a result of dramatic cuts to its budget by the Trump administration in the US.

Illustrative: Palestinian children do their homework by candlelight during a power outage in Gaza City on September 11, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Zeid also criticized last week’s approval by Israel’s parliament of a bill defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. He said that it “anchors inherent discrimination against non-Jewish communities,” most notably the Arab citizens of Israel and residents of East Jerusalem, and warned that it “could also further inflame tensions.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the bill’s passage a “historic moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the State of Israel,” saying: “Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, which honors the individual rights of all its citizens.”

 Palestinian protesters gather in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Negotiating tool? Palestinian “protester” on the Gaza side of Israel’s border fence.

Zeid also criticized Israel’s approval, planning and construction of settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

Furthermore, he called Israel’s detention of hundreds of Palestinian children, some without charge under a system of “administrative detention,” a “fundamental human rights violation.”

“It should be absolutely clear that international law requires detention only be used for children as a last resort,” he said.

And whether for children or adults, Zeid said, detention without trial “contravenes Israel’s obligations under international law.”

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© Bashar Taleb, AFP | A picture taken on July 14, 2018, shows Palestinian rockets being fired from Gaza City towards Israel.

“An estimated 440 Palestinians are being held in ‘administrative detention,’ according to the latest figures,” he said. “Israel should immediately charge, or release, all of them.”

In an op-ed published Sunday, four senior Trump administration officials lauded “the beginning of a paradigm shift” in the United Nations General Assembly, citing voting patterns on a June resolution on violence in the Gaza Strip.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump Jared Kushner, US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, and US Ambassador to Israel David Freidman said the organization, which in the past has been “relentlessly and blindly anti-Israel,” had shown promise by considering Hamas’s role in the conflict.


Syria, Islamic State (IS) using civilians as ‘pawns’: UN rights chief

June 29, 2018

Civilians fleeing attacks on rebel-held towns in southern Syria are being used as “pawns”, the UN rights chief said, lamenting reported demands for payment at government checkpoints and jihadist’s blocking movement.

With Russia’s help, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army has battered Daraa province for over a week with air strikes, rocket fire and crude barrel bombs.

In this Thursday, April 5, 2018 photo, rubble of buildings line a street that was damaged during fighting between US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters and Islamic State militants, in Raqqa, Syria.(AP/Hussein Malla)

Syria: Rubble of buildings line a street that was damaged during fighting between US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters and Islamic State militants, in Raqqa, Syria. (AP/Hussein Malla)

The bombardment has already forced more than 66,000 to flee their homes in search of safety, according to the UN, while others huddle in their basements to wait out the raids.

UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned in a statement of the “grave risk that the intensified fighting will see many civilians trapped”.

He said many risked being caught between pro-government forces on one side and armed opposition groups and the Islamic State jihadists on the other.

The rights chief condemned how “civilians in Syria continue to be used as pawns by the various parties”.

Zeid said his office had received reports that “in the last few days, civilians at some government checkpoints in the southern-eastern and western parts of Daraa have only been allowed through to government-held areas in Daraa City and As Suwayda governorate for a fee.”

“To add to the bleak situation facing civilians, there are also reports that ISIL fighters in control of the Yarmuk Basin area in the western part of Daraa governorate are not allowing civilians to leave the areas under their control”, he said.

© AFP | With Russia’s help, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army has battered Daraa province for over a week with air strikes, rocket fire and crude barrel bombs

Zeid stressed that international law requires all sides to “do their utmost to protect civilians” and urged the parties to the conflict “to provide safe passage to those wishing to flee.”

“Those wishing to stay must be protected at all times,” he added.

Zeid said his office had documented at least 46 civilian deaths in the region since the escalation began on June 19. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the toll at more than double that, at 96.

The UN has warned that more than 750,000 lives are at risk in the south, which is meant to be protected by a ceasefire put in place last year by Russia, Jordan, and the United States.

The onslaught has sparked fears of a re-run of the offensives last year against the rebel enclaves of Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, including deadly bombardments followed by a retaking of territory and an accord to evacuate rebels from the areas.

“I have spoken of the cruel irony of Eastern Ghouta being a de-escalation zone, and how the conduct of the war has been utterly shameful from the outset and a stain on us all,” Zeid said Friday.

“Now another supposed ‘de-escalation’ zone risks becoming the scene of large-scale civilian casualties,” he said.

“This madness must end.”



U.N.’s Zeid says Hungary’s new laws are ‘blatantly xenophobic’

June 21, 2018

New Hungarian laws that criminalize people for helping asylum-seekers are shameful and blatantly xenophobic, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said in a statement on Thursday.

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Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights — File Photo

“The constant stoking of hatred by the current government for political gain has led to this latest shameful development, which is blatantly xenophobic and runs counter to European and international human rights standards and values,” he said.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg


U.N. rights boss calls U.S. immigration policy “unconscionable” in final speech — Hits out at China, North Korea, Myanmar

June 18, 2018

The top U.N. human rights official called on the United States on Monday to halt its “unconscionable” policy of forcibly separating children from migrant parents irregularly entering the country via Mexico.

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Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights attends the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, in his final speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, also said that widespread violations continued in North Korea and against Rohingya in Myanmar. He accused China of preventing independent activists from testifying before U.N. rights bodies.

He urged the 47-member Geneva forum to set up international commissions on alleged violations in Venezuela and Nicaragua, receiving a standing ovation at the end of his lengthy remarks.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans

Cavusoglu: Europe shows ‘double standards’ over democracy

May 31, 2018

Turkish-EU relations remain fraught, but Turkey’s foreign minister says they need each other. Are their differences becoming impossible to reconcile? Mevlut Cavusoglu meets DW’s Tim Sebastian on Conflict Zone.


Europe and the West are showing “double standards” over democracy and their treatment of Turkey, the Turkish foreign minister has said.

In an exclusive interview on DW’s top political interview show Conflict Zone, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told host Tim Sebastian, “Turkey needs the European Union and European Union needs Turkey. We are aware of this but some European countries unfortunately don’t see the facts.”

Deutschland, Düsseldorf: Mevlut Cavusoglu und Angela Merkel geben sich die Hand (picture-alliance/C. Ozdel)Mevlut Cavusoglu meets Angela Merkel to commemorate 25 years since five members of a Turkish family were killed by extremists in western Germany. Jürgen Hardt, of Merkel’s CDU party, said in the days ahead of the event there was “no room for Turkey’s election campaign”

The foreign minister was in Germany to attend an event marking the 25th anniversary of the deadliest xenophobic attack in post-war German history. Five women and girls of Turkish origin were killed when arsonists torched a building in the western German city of Solingen.

German lawmakers criticized Cavusoglu’s appearance ahead of the visit over concerns it would be used as a campaign appearance for the AK Party politician in the run up to Turkey’s snap elections in June. Some 1.4 million Turkish passport holders living in Germany were eligible to vote in last year’s referendum in Turkey.

Foreign politicians are banned from election campaigning in Germany for up to three months ahead of the vote in their home country. The Netherlands and Austria have also made similar moves.

‘Unacceptable rhetoric’

In March 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of “employing Nazi measures,” while Cavusoglu himself, at a rally in France the same month, called the Netherlands “the capital of fascism.”

Sebastian asked the foreign minister why the EU should deal with Turkey as a candidate member given its insults toward members of the bloc.

“Well, last year when the Netherlands didn’t want to allow us to meet the Turkish people in the Netherlands there was a tension and the rhetoric was very high and it was coming from both sides and I didn’t start that.”

Türkei Istanbul Rede Erdogan (Getty Images/AFP/O. Kose)“When we call them Nazis, they [Europe] get uncomfortable. They rally together in solidarity. Especially Merkel,” Erdogan said at a televised speech in March 2017

The foreign minister denied that his comments had been viciously insulting and questioned the democratic standards being used.

“You have your own understanding of democracy. And when you violate democratic standards you said it is sovereignty. So how can you try to teach democracy to Turkey then? Who gives you the right then? If you think that you have the right to criticize Turkey for this and that, you should also accept that I can criticize any country when they violate the democratic standards,” said Cavusoglu.

According to the European Commission in April, Turkey’s bilateral relations with several EU member states have “deteriorated, including at times offensive and unacceptable rhetoric,” which Cavusoglu denied in a heated exchange with Conflict Zone‘s Tim Sebastian.

“It is not true. You think whatever European countries and whatever the European Union says is right and whatever we say is wrong? This is your problem.”

State of emergency

Since the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, almost 160,000 people have been arrested. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said “successive states of emergency declared in Turkey have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people.”

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“The security of my people is more important than your comments and your understanding. You didn’t want to understand what happened in Turkey and many countries in the West supported the plotters,” said Cavusoglu.

When Sebastian pressed the foreign minister to name a country that supported the coup, he refused to name any.

“Many ministers that night actually questioned me at three o’clock in the morning how Turkey was going to treat these plotters, instead of asking me how I was doing personally and how the situation was in Turkey,” he said.

Andrew Brunson (Reuters/Depo Photos )

Andrew Brunson, an American pastor working as a missionary in Turkey for 23 years, has been in jail for 18 months awaiting trial. He faces up to 35 years if convicted

Turning to Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic cleric Turkey blames for the coup attempt and wants extradited from the US, Tim Sebastian asked Cavusoglu whether Turkey was engaging in hostage diplomacy over its arrest of the US missionary Andrew Brunson in December 2016.

“It is not hostage diplomacy, my friend. Brunson is accused and the indictment is there … It is a purely judicial process. It is not a politically motivated process,” Cavusoglu told Conflict Zone.

President Erdogan was quoted from a speech in Ankara in September as saying, “‘Give us the pastor back,’ they say. You have one pastor as well. Give him [Gulen] to us … Then we will try him [Brunson] and give him to you.”

Cavusoglu said that a trade had not been offered: “This is how you are interpreting and we have never been in this kind of bargaining with any country.”

‘Assad cannot rule this country’

Kasachstan Syriengespräche in Astana (Reuters/M. Kholdorbekov)

Mevlut Cavusoglu told Conflict Zone the Astana process had “been very helpful to actually consolidate the ceasefire, the escalation zones, and also to take some confidence building steps, measures between the regime and the opposition”

On Syria, Sebastian asked whether Turkey, as a leading actor in the political process, had to take some of the blame for failing to end the conflict.

“Assad cannot rule [Syria] anymore because he has killed almost one million people and it is not only up to me … It is up to the Syrian people actually at the end to decide who is going to rule the country,” Cavusoglu told Conflict Zone.

The Turkish foreign minister also defended Ankara’s relationship with Iran. “Like it or not, Iran is also an important actor. We disagree with Iran on different issues including Assad … But you don’t have to agree on everything with a country or a person to work together. Sometimes you can put these disagreements in the brackets.”

U.N. sees signs of Mexican official involvement in wave of disappearances

May 30, 2018

The U.N. human rights office has “strong indications” that Mexican federal security forces are behind a wave of disappearances in and around the city of Nuevo Laredo, a statement from the U.N. human rights chief said on Wednesday.

Mexican officials did not immediately respond to the UN allegations.

The U.N. has documented the disappearance of 21 men and two women in Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas State from February until May 16 this year, the statement from U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said.

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

A local human rights organization put the number of disappearances at more than 40, and the U.N. human rights office received testimonies that they were allegedly perpetrated by a federal security force, often late at night or at dawn, the statement said.

“Many of these people are reported to have been arbitrarily detained and disappeared while going about their daily lives,” the statement quoted Zeid as saying.

“It is particularly horrific that at least five of the victims are minors, with three of them as young as 14. These crimes, perpetrated over four months in a single municipality, are outrageous,” he said.

Zeid has called on Mexican authorities to end the disappearances “amid strong indications that these crimes have been committed by federal security forces”, the statement said.

The authorities had ample information and evidence but had made little progress in investigating. Relatives of those missing had so far found the bodies of at least six victims, the statement said.

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission asked the Navy and others to protect the population of Tamaulipas, but at least three disappearances had happened since then.

Zeid said the events were a litmus test of whether Mexico’s new General Law on Disappearances represented real change or a continued failure of justice.

“States have the obligation to guarantee the security of the population,” he said.

“In the case of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions carried out by public officials, it is even more urgent for the state to act to demonstrate that it neither condones nor tolerates the commission of such grave violations.”

Reporting by Tom Miles; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg


Philippine Government Blast EU For Interfering Human Rights, War On Drugs — “What do they care how many die here? They can all go to hell.”

April 20, 2018
By:  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
 / 05:22 PM April 20, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JOAN BONDOC

Where are the 12,000 drug war deaths?

Malacañang hit back on Friday at the European Parliament for issuing a resolution urging the Philippines to stop its war on drugs, claiming it is marred by alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

The EU Parliament also called on the Philippines to release Sen. Leila de Lima and give her a fair trial and remove the terrorists tag against human rights defenders in the country.

“We of course find it unfortunate that members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and baseless claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements. ,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Image result for duterte with rifle, photo, april 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

In this Thursday, April 19, 2018, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte jokes to photographers as he holds an Israeli-made Galil rifle which was presented to him by outgoing Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, at the turnover-of-command ceremony at Camp Crame in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Duterte told the crowd he will not stop his so-called war on drugs until his last day in office. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

Source: AP

In their latest resolution, the EU Parliament also noted the death of 12,000 individuals in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration does not engage in extrajudicial killings .

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“Ang sabi po nila, 12,000 na raw po ang namatay. Nasaan po iyong mga bangkay, at nasaan po iyong mga demanda ng mga 12,000 victims?  Roque asked.

“Kakaunti lang po ang alam naming mga demanda tungkol dito sa mga patayan na ito, and we of course challenge them – saan po iyong mga datos, saan ang ebidensiya na 12,000 ang namatay na?” he added.

Roque reiterated that the government does not tolerate impunity.

“Impunity does not have a place in our society and we continue to follow due process and hold officers accountable for their actions,” he said.

“Hindi po natin kinukusinti ang mga patayan. Ang ating mga institusyon ay gumagalaw po para bigyan ng implementasyon ang ating batas laban sa patayan (We do not tolerate these deaths. Our institutions are working to implement the laws against killings),” he added.

The war on drugs under the Duterte administration has received international condemnation from rights groups for alleged human rights abuses by police authorities.

De Lima arrest legal

Roque also slammed the EU Parliament, saying the arrest and detention of de Lima followed strict legal procedures.

“The arrest and detention of Senator Leila De Lima on illegal drug charges which follows strict legal procedures has even been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court of the Philippines,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the plea for reconsideration of De Lima to nullify the arrest warrant against her issued by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero.

“Ngayong linggo lang po ito, Korte Suprema na ang nagbasura noong Motion for Reconsideration ni Leila De Lima na kinukuwestiyon iyong legalidad ng information laban sa kaniya. Ano pong gagawin natin? Korte Suprema na nagsabi, dalawang beses; hindi lang isang beses na legal ‘yan,” Roque said.

The Palace official said the judicial system in the Philippines is working.

“Gumagana po ang hudikatura dito sa Pilipinas, hindi po naimpluwensiyahan ng mga pulitiko ang mga lower courts at ang Korte Supreme dito sa Pilipinas dahil ngayon po, menorya pa lang ang naa-appoint na mga justices ng ating Pangulo sa Supreme Court,” he said.

He daid the executive branch does not interfere with the decision of the judiciary.

Terrorist tag

Roque said human rights defenders tagged as terrorist by the government were being given due process and the right to be heard.

“United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is included in the list of terrorist because of intelligence information. Ms. Corpuz can submit controverting evidence linking her with the terrorist group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,” he said.

He said Corpuz was not yet a terrorist as her case was still in court.

“Hindi pa naman siya nababansagang terorista; kinakailangan munang magkaroon ng order sa hukuman. So binibigyan po siya ng due process, bibigyan po siya ng pagkakataon na marinig. Magsumite po siya ng ebidensiya na hindi siya terorista, at pabayaan natin ang hukuman magdesisyon,” he said.

Roque said it would be the court and not foreigner lawmakers who would decide and whether Corpuz would be tagged as a terrorist.

“We thus call on the members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions,” he said.

“We understand a number of whom have close ties with the local political opposition who tried to distort realities that we have a working democracy, where people now enjoy peace and order,” he added.

In its World Report 2018, Human Rights Watch said President Rodrigo Duterte dragged the Philippines into a serious human rights crisis since the dictatorship of late Ferdinand Marcos, whom Duterte had praised in the past. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP, File

PH removal from UN

Roque also addressed the plan of the EU Parliament for the removal of the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council.

“Well that’s not a decision to be made by the European parliament. That’s a decision to be made by the UN system itself. The members of the UN Human Rights Council are elected by the general assembly, that’s a call to be made by the general assembly,” he said.



Cayetano dares HRW: Show proof 12,000 were killed in PH drug war
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 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


All this makes one wonder: does the Philippines know what it is doing with China? In the South China Sea?  Benham Rise? Is Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the ICC, and is Agnes Callamard  (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the UN) correct in saying the Philippines is guilty of gross illegalities under international law? Is the Philippine government being run by people who don’t understand the law? Is the move for a “Federal form of Government” based upon any good thinking?


 (No man is above the law…)


The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal

According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis
Three of five Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, the Social Weather Stations said in its latest survey. AFP/Noel Celis
Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal



 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)




Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Philippines President Duterte calls UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein ’empty-headed son of a whore’

April 4, 2018
 / 12:30 PM April 04, 2018
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, closeup and indoor

President Rodrigo Duterte. (AFP FILE PHOTO)

President Rodrigo Duterte has launched a foul-mouthed attack on the United Nations (UN) human rights chief, calling him “empty-headed” in a row over international criticism of his deadly campaign against illegal drugs.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, had last month said Duterte needed “psychiatric evaluation,” and that his verbal attacks on a UN rapporteur, who condemned his anti-drug crackdown could not go unanswered.

“Hey son of a whore, you commissioner, I need to go to a psychiatrist?” asked Duterte in a speech late Tuesday.

“The psychiatrist told me: ‘You are okay, mayor. You are just fond of cursing,’” Duterte said, referring to his former title.

The Philippine leader added he had been advised to refrain from commenting on the remarks of Zeid, a Jordanian prince, but he wanted to “seek revenge”.

“Look, you have a big head but it’s empty. There is no grey matter between your ears. It’s hollow. It’s empty. It cannot even sustain a nutrient for your hair to grow because his hair here is gone,” Duterte said as he touched his head.

Duterte, 73, has launched curse-laden tirades on world leaders, including former United States President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, as well as critics of his anti-crime crackdown.

Duterte won a presidential election in mid-2016 after promising to eradicate drugs in society within six months by killing tens of thousands of users and dealers.

Philippine police said they have killed roughly 4,100 suspects, who fought back during arrest, but rights groups alleged the actual number is three times higher and accused authorities of murder.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a “preliminary examination” into the alleged killings in the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Last month, Zeid, who has criticized alleged extrajudicial killings in the drug war, said Duterte’s remarks about a UN rapporteur seeking to investigate the matter were “absolutely disgraceful”.

He likewise condemned Duterte’s statement ordering troops to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

In Tuesday’s speech, Duterte defended the comments along with his so-called war on drugs.

“I am rude? I am really rude. There is nothing I can do about that,” Duterte said. “I kill people? Yes, I really kill people… go ahead and do drugs there. I already told you to stop.”

Addressing human rights groups, Duterte said: “You are dreaming if you think you can jail me.”                        /kga

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