By Roy Ramos
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the human rights violations resulting from the bloody drug war under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration could provoke economic sanctions and Philippines’ removal from the 47-state United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
"We feel that the Philippines is in violation of its membership obligations and that the General Assembly would have grounds to consider its removal [from the UNHRC]," HRW Geneva advocacy director John Fisher said in an interview with GMA News.
Fisher noted that membership in the UNHRC is a privilege but comes with conditions to “uphold the highest standards of human rights, and cooperate with the council” which was violated by the Philippines as people are killed with impunity.
He also noted the joint statement made by 39 countries expressing concern “about the thousands of killings and climate of impunity associated with the war on drugs” in the Philippines which it said could lead to economic sanctions against Manila.
"As we see a broad range of states speaking out and condemning the Philippines—as they already have through the joint statements—then inevitably, those states that factor human rights into their economic relationship are going to have reservations about renewing trade contracts," said Fisher.
"There's a broad range of sanctions...Of course, there can be economic sanctions, particularly by states within their bilateral relationships," he added.
Fisher expressed disappointment that despite the various calls and recommendations related to ending the killings, it seems that Manila refuses to heed and “has no interest in itself taking responsibility for ending these abuses or for complying with its international human rights obligations”.
"For us at Human Rights Watch, what that means is the United Nations has no option but to step in," he said.