PH tops Global Impunity Index

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The Philippines has topped the 2017 Global Impunity Index put out by the Mexico-based University of the Americas Puebla and UDLAP Jenkins Graduate School.

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The result of the index, according to Malacañang spokesman Ernesto Abella, must be taken in the proper context because previous administrations faced the same problems of “[increased]violence related [to]organized crime and increased terrorist activities from local gangs linked to the Islamic State.”

The Duterte administration, just the same, needs to improve the criminal justice system to address impunity, Abella said on Friday.

“We must therefore strengthen the pillars of the criminal justice system, which include the community, law enforcement, prosecution, the courts and corrections,” he added in a statement.

Abella said crime and terrorism are being addressed by the government.

“The true depth, breadth and magnitude of crime and terrorism, funded by illegal drugs, have only been recently uncovered; resistance from those adversely affected by the current government’s campaign against illegal drugs has been strong, and internal cleansing by organized crime have all had violent results,” he added.

Around 7,000 to 13,000 suspected drug suspects, including children and teenagers, are alleged to have died under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs that began in July last year now.

Police said only 3,000 suspects died in legitimate police operations.

Public outrage, however, was more palpable after the death of three teenaged boys, Kian Loyd de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman, who were killed in police operations in August.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Philippines also on Friday faced the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the United Nations to affirm which of its recommendations on the country’s human rights obligations should be adopted.

The HRC has released the outcome of the third cycle of its Universal Public Review (UPR) of the Philippines and will be convening with stakeholders and representatives from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines in the plenary of the HRC’s 36th session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The UPR is a mechanism created by the HRC in 2005 that aims to improve the human rights situation of its UN member states.

The council conducts its UPR every four years with its 48 member-states to assess human rights-related issues in their countries.

The review allows states to report actions that they have taken to address the concerns.

Forty-two states are reviewed each year by 47 HRC members during three Working Group sessions dedicated to 14 states each.

Results of each review will then be reflected in an “outcome report” listing the HRC’s recommendations that the state under review will have to implement.

A state being reviewed has to undergo three key stages: review of the human rights situation, implementation of recommendations received from the HRC and voluntary pledges made and reporting at the next review on the implementation of the recommendations since the previous review.

The Philippines’ first and second reviews already took place in April 2008 and May 2012.

As the country underwent its third cycle of review in May 2017, CHR Chairman Chito Gascon reported that not all recommendations have been implemented since 2012.

“A list of over 50 recommendations were there but not all were acted upon by the last government, so we will be held to account for that failure. But there would be new recommendations to be made and in the next UPR, the Duterte government will be asked to address those recommendations fully,” Gascon said.

LLANESCA T. PANTI AND GLEE JALEA

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