Palace: Philippines rejects UNHCR suggestions to assert independence

THE Philippines refusal to heed the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was a display of the country's independent foreign policy, a Palace official said Monday.

"That is all part of our prerogative to exercise independent foreign policy," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

The 47-member UNHRC adopted the results of the Philippines' Universal Periodic Review report on September 22. The adoption involved acceptance by UN member-states of some recommendations presented by the Philippines before the council in Geneva, Switzerland last May.

During the 36th session of UPR in Geneva, the Philippines welcomed only 103 of 257 recommendations of the council and took note of the remaining 154.

Around 99 of 154 recommendations were "accepted in principle" by the Duterte government while 55 of these "could not be fully supported."

The Duterte government merely noted recommendations referring to the summary executions allegedly resulting from the state's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, explaining that its implementation were not meant to perform extrajudicial killings.

Abella said the current administration was not ignoring the drug-related killings in the country but it maintains a stance that "there are certain parameters that need not be infringed upon."

He said the Philippines decided not to accept all the 257 recommendations following a "careful review and inclusive consultation with inputs from various stakeholders," which is "in line with our independent foreign policy."

"There are certain items that we feel need to be acted on in order to continue to maintain our constitutional stance of maintaining an independent foreign policy," the presidential spokesperson said.

"What really matters is that the United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted the Philippine report recognizing the country’s human rights record and commitments under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he added. (SunStar Philippines)

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