De Lima flags anew drug war to ICC, UN Human Rights Council

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SENATOR Leila M. De Lima — AFP

By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter

SENATOR Leila M. De Lima has reiterated calls to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take “urgent actions” on the human rights situation in the Philippines, citing the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Ms. De Lima made the statement in her message at the side events of the 39th UNHRC session in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 13.

“It is imperative for the ICC and relevant UN bodies and mechanisms to work and work urgently not only to frustrate (President) Duterte’s plans but more importantly and ultimately to shrink the space for impunity in the Philippines,” she said in her Sept. 13 message.

The senator has also written a letter to the UNHRC, urging the international body to pass a resolution sending a fact-finding mission to the Philippines to look into the government’s war on drugs.

The ICC began its preliminary examination last February into the alleged crimes committed under the government’s war on drugs to determine whether there was a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.

The Philippines can only depend on the international community and the “various instruments of global justice,” Ms. De Lima said, since the prosecution of cases linked to the war on drugs has been allegedly blocked by the authorities.

The senator also cited Mr. Duterte’s statements against UN officials, which she said was meant to “discredit and block off” international bodies to exact accountability from him and those who perpetrate human rights violations in the country.

“Where do a brutalized people go when domestic legal systems fail to provide them redress and remedy? Where can they turn to when, at home, they are turned away from the courts of justice and corridors of power?” Ms. De Lima said.

“Where do the Filipinos go now? Expectedly, we have to turn to those avenues which seem available and appear viable to us: to each other, to the international community, and to the various instruments of global justice,” she added.

The 39th session of the UNHRC convened last Sept. 10 in Geneva, Switzerland. During the three-week session, the international body will discuss the situation of human rights worldwide and will engage with 25 independent human rights experts and groups on a range of human rights issues.

Several UN member-states have already expressed concerns before the UNHRC regarding the rising number of drug-related killings in the Philippines.