Cool to UNHRC

Published July 18, 2019, 12:52 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Jullie Y. Daza
Jullie Y. Daza

We could welcome the United Nations Human Rights Council’s fact-finding team “into our kitchen, dining room, living room, but not the bedroom.”

Filipino hospitality to the core! Words spoken by former ambassador to the United Nations Lauro Baja, in the language of diplomats to cool down tempers without losing our heads over Iceland’s proposal to have us investigated for alleged human rights violations in the war against drugs.

With everybody speaking at the same time in discordant tones – the President, his spokesman, the secretary of Foreign Affairs, senators, commentators, experts, noisemakers – Mr. Baja notes that we’re quite a talkative people. In a phone-patch interview over DZMM Teleradyo last Monday, he pointed out that “there is no enforcement provision for UNHRC” and we could “go to other agencies in the UN” for recourse.

Speaking calmly, his voice soothing like ice cubes in a glass of mint julep on a hot day,   Ambassador Borja also suggested that our diplomats invite representatives of those 18 countries that voted “yes” to Iceland’s proposal to come over and see things for themselves. What will they see? That those so-called EJK’s are not state policy, that the courts are working, that the state of drugs use is a serious problem here.

(It’s a long shot, but can our policemen learn to shoot — not to kill but to disable? If there have been 7,000 dead pushers, dealers, users, one can only infer that cops are extremely skillful deadeyes, which means they can be retrained to be less deadly, to aim for a leg, foot, arm, or shoulder instead of the head or chest. Easier said than done; yes, it can be done, or what’s a firing range with target practice for?)

Iceland is home to 2,000 Filipinos, a tiny group, but then there are only 300,000 Icelanders. Theirs may be a cold country but it’s also an island like ours, with active volcanoes like ours. As Lourd de Veyra annotated on TV5 News, there’s more green in Iceland than Greenland and more ice in Greenland than Iceland. Whichever, I prefer our own colorful, tropical islands any day, any season.####