UN states ask Philippines to grant access to Callamard Featured

UN states ask Philippines to grant access to Callamard Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, waits for her turn to speak at a drug policy forum at University of the Philippines, Friday, May 5, 2017 in Quezon City, Philippines. Callamard has rebuked Philippine President Rodrigo

Set no conditions for rapporteur's visit, Philippines urged

MANILA, Philippines — Several member states of the United Nations have asked the Philippines to grant access to United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard without conditions.

The Philippine government has presented the human rights situation in the country before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland for the third cycle of its Universal Periodic Review.

Reprsentatives from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Peru recommended to the Philippines to allow Callamard to conduct an investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

Several countries have also expressed concern over the alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Vatican City, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States .

The Philippines had invited Callamard to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings of drug offenders in the country under certain conditions from Duterte.

The UN special rapporteur rejected the conditions of the president which includes holding a public debate with Callamard rather than holding a private meeting.

"It is crucial for the effective implementation of the mission that the UN terms of reference are fully accepted by governments and that the code of conduct is respected," Callamard said in a statement.

The same UN states also asked the Philippines to maintain the abolition of the death penalty, citing that it is a violation of the right to life.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives approved on second reading the measure restoring the death penalty but only for drug offenses.

The UN member states have also expressed concern over the proposal of lowering the age of criminality in the Philippines.

Several countries asked the Philippines to maintain the current age of criminal liability in the country. The House of Representatives is eyeing to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to nine years.

By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com)

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