DFA official questions motives of UN Rapporteur Callamard’s visit to PHL

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MANILA, May 5 (PNA) — An official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has raised questions on the “motives and sincerity” of United Nation (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard’s unofficial visit to the Philippines, which timed with the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

DFA Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said that since Callamard has rejected the parameters set for the government’s official invitation to her, the next best venue for a dialogue between her and Philippine government would have been at the sidelines of the UPR in Geneva.

Bolivar noted that the date for the Philippines’ review under the UPR process has been set some time ago and “Callamard is aware of this.”

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“However, she chose to travel to Philippines at exactly the same time as our UPR is ongoing thus preventing the possibility of this meeting between her and GPH (Government of the Philippines) from taking place, which may also make questionable her motives and sincerity in engaging the Philippine government in meaningful dialogue,” he said.

Bolivar said Callamard has refused the standing invitation of the Philippine government for her, subject to certain parameters.

“As such, her travel to the Philippines is not an official visit of a Special Rapporteur since such a visit should have been worked out through diplomatic channels and based on her acceptance of an official government invitation,” he added.

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Meanwhile, the Philippine government will present the Philippines’ achievements on human rights at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) UPR in Geneva this Monday.

The Philippines and 13 other countries will comprise the first batch of countries in the UPR third cycle and will present during sessions in Geneva national reports on actions they have taken from 2012 onwards to improve the human rights situations in their respective countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.

This UPR session will be a progressive step following the successful completion by the Philippines of the first and second cycles of the UPR process in 2008 and 2012. The Philippines was also on the first batch of countries on the first and second cycle of the UPR.

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The UPR is a state-driven voluntary process that involves all UN Member States under the auspices of the HRC. It is aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 UN Member States. (Leslie D. Venzon/PNA)

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