Home Editors' Picks EU to bolster efforts to ensure accountability in gov’t’s war on drugs
EU to bolster efforts to ensure accountability in gov’t’s war on drugs
A EUROPEAN UNION (EU) official on Thursday vowed to bolster the bloc’s commitment to efforts to improve human rights in the Philippines.
“The European Union will continue to strive to bring about accountability for the killings,” EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore said at a livestreamed event dedicated to victims of ex-President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on drugs.
“We will continue to support the effort to bring about justice and accountability and other programs in the Philippines intended to improve human rights.”
Mr. Gilmore was on a three-day visit to the Philippines to discuss human rights issues with Philippine officials.
He met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo on March 28 to discuss the issue.
On Wednesday, he visited former Senator Leila M. de Lima, who has been in jail for six years for what her supporters say are trumped-up drug trafficking charges.
“Senator Leila de Lima, who is a human rights and social rights champion, should be released without further delay,” Mr. Gilmore tweeted on Wednesday.
Last month, Amnesty International urged the Philippine government to drop “fabricated charges” against Ms. De Lima, one of Mr. Duterte’s fiercest critics.
Four witnesses have recanted their testimonies against the former lawmaker about her involvement in the illegal drug trade. All of them claimed to have been coerced by the government into testifying against Ms. De Lima.
A delegation of EU lawmakers visited the Philippines last month to discuss the country’s human rights situation.
At a press briefing on Feb. 24, Hannah Neumann, vice chairwoman of the European Parliament subcommittee on human rights, said the EU wants to see the Philippines rejoin the International Criminal Court to reinforce its commitment to human rights.
She said the human rights situation is better now under President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. “We’d be very happy to see the Philippines rejoin the Rome Statute of the ICC as it would clearly reinforce the government’s commitment to fighting impunity.”
Ms. Neumann said Philippine officials and lawmakers seemed more willing to discuss human rights violations than the previous administration.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla earlier told the United Nations Human Rights Council the Philippines could probe erring officials without the ICC’s help. — John Victor D. Ordoñez