Charles Jose, Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, announced that the United Nations (UN) is sending a team of 18 human rights experts to the Philippines to investigate the state of human rights in the country.
He also cleared that the UN’s action in sending a team of human rights experts to the Philippines had nothing to do with the public challenge issued by President Rodrigo Duterte to the UN, the European Union (EU), and the United States President Barack Obama.
It can be recalled that earlier this month, President Duterte, in his signature hard-hitting language, delivered an impassioned challenge to the UN and the EU to investigate him for the alarmingly rampant cases of drug-related extrajudicial killings and summary executions.
The UN team of human rights experts is set to arrive in the country on September 28 and 29. They will be investigating the condition of human rights in the country, but Jose stressed that they will not be tackling the issue of extrajudicial killings.
To quiet suspicions and speculations, Jose also clarified that the team’s visit does not mean anything beyond what it is. He clarified that it is a normal and regular thing to happen because the Philippines is a signatory to the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
He also shared that the UN Committee is regularly reviewing all signatory-states to the covenant, and that the Philippines will be presenting its 5th and 6th periodic report to the UN team of 18.
In addition to Jose’s formal announcement, the Malacañang, through Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, also said that they are ready to cooperate with the investigations of the United Nations. This is to, once and for all, refute the claims that they are restricting the probe on the extrajudicial killings.
However, Andanar also explained that, as per what President Duterte said, if the UN investigators will ask him questions, then in return, he would also ask them questions.