Harald Aspelund, fastafulltrúi Íslands, flutti eftirfarandi ræðu við upphaf atkvæðagreiðslu í mannréttindaráðinu í dag, 11. júlí 2019, en þá gerði hann grein fyrir því hvers vegna Ísland legði fram ályktun um mannréttindaástand á Filippseyjum og hvers vegna nauðsynlegt væri að samþykkja slíka ályktun.
Introduction of draft resolution L.20 by Iceland:
Promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines
Geneva 11 July 2019
Thank you, Mr. President.
I have the honor to introduce draft resolution L.20 entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines”.
Both the former and current High Commissioners for Human Rights have repeatedly raised concerns about the increase in violence and impunity in the Philippines. This Council session, High Commissioner Bachelet noted the extraordinarily high number of reported deaths and persistent reports of extrajudicial killings in the context of campaigns against drug use.
In the past three years, Special Procedure mandate holders have issued thirty-three statements on the Philippines. Thirty-three.
Most recently, eleven special rapporteurs jointly called for an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines, citing a sharp deterioration in the situation across the country, including sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights.
UN treaty bodies and the Philippines’s own National Human Rights Institution have expressed similar concerns.
Indeed, concerns have been so serious that both the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the UN Secretary-General have condemned the apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers in the Philippines.
We bring this resolution not because we seek confrontation. That is never Iceland’s preferred approach. We have tried to engage constructively on this issue for more than two years. Since 2017, Iceland has led three joint statements on the Philippines in the Council, expressing our serious concern while maintaining dialogue with the Philippines delegation.
We have engaged with the Philippines bilaterally over the past two years at Ministerial, Ambassadorial, Deputy and Expert level on this issue and we have remained open to constructive engagement and dialogue throughout.
As a new member of the Council last year, Iceland pledged to address human rights concerns on their merits, applying objective criteria in determining if a situation warrants Council action in a non-politicized, non-selective and objective manner. We have put forward a balanced text with a very modest ask – simply requesting the High Commissioner to prepare a report for discussion by June next year.
We discuss the need to prevent and respond to violations on a regular basis in this Council. But all too often our words are not borne out by our acts. If we cannot respond in a serious way to the repeated calls for action by the mechanisms of this Council, by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and even the UN Secretary General, then when can we respond?
We thank all delegations for their constructive engagement during the informal consultations and I hope that this draft can be adopted with the support of all members of this Council.
I thank you, Mr. President.