Philippine government invites UN Special Rapporteurs once again

The Philippine government has invited the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, Morris Tidball-Binz, to the Philippines for 2023 as part of the United Nations Joint Programme (UNJP). The UNJP is a technical cooperation between the Philippine government and the UN. It is designed to support the government in conducting adequate investigations into cases of extrajudicial killings that occurred during police operations. Tidball-Binz is a Chilean physician and expert in forensic medicine, human rights, and humanitarian action.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla’s invitation to the Special Rapporteur was welcomed by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP). ICHRP Chair Peter Murphy called Tidball-Binz’s invitation an “important next step in the process of seeking justice for thousands of victims of extrajudicial executions” and reiterated ICHRP’s call for the Marcos government to investigate the crimes openly, transparently, and thoroughly. Remulla called the invitation “a follow-up” on the agreement defined in the UNJP.

The Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, Mama Fatima Singhateh, already visited the Philippines from November 28 to December 8, 2022. Singhateh spoke with representatives of the government at the national and local level as well as with civil society representatives. A visit by the Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion, Irene Khan, is scheduled for next year 2023.

Since 2015, there was no further official visit of an UN Special Rapporteur to the Philippines. During the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, only the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, visited the Philippines in May 2017. However, Callamard’s visit counted as an “academic visit” as it did not take place as part of her official UN mandate.

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) also announced that it would visit the Philippines in 2023.

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