• UN rights expert ready for government scrutiny

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    A HUMAN rights expert from the United Nations has agreed to hold a “high level debriefing” with the Philippine officials to discuss whatever will be the findings of the investigation on the spate of drug killings in the country.

    This was in compliance with the condition laid down by President Rodrigo Duterte that a UN representative must be subjected to scrutiny in a public forum.

    A briefing note published on the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions, was open to discuss her preliminary findings and present an end-of-mission statement. She will also hold a press briefing to share her initial observations with the media.

    A report on the visit will be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council.

    Callamard and special rapporteur on the right to health Dainius Púras will be in the Philippines on the first quarter of 2017.

    “The general purpose of the visits of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is to examine the level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice in the concerned country,” read part of the briefing note.

    It added, “The Special Rapporteur’s inquiries into cases of unlawful killings or summary executions are of a fact-finding nature only (monitoring and reporting). They are not of a criminal, judicial or quasi-judicial nature.”

    Callamard will hold meetings with government and other public officials at the national and local level. She will also have dialogues with various non-governmental organizations, representatives of international or regional organizations, the diplomatic community, victims, witnesses, detainees and the media.

    The Philippine government was requested to commit to ensure free, confidential and unsupervised interviews with victims, families of victims, legal representatives, detainees, and civil society representatives as a whole. It was also asked to ensure free and unrestricted access to all regions as well as places of detention and facilities where detainees may be kept.

    “It is crucial for the effective implementation of the country visit that these Terms of References are fully accepted by Governments. These are essential guarantees which ensure that the mission delivers on its outcomes, to the benefit of all those involved,” the briefing note said.

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