Duterte calls for stronger cooperation to ensure healthy human rights environment for all

Published December 7, 2020, 11:03 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

With the work still far from over, President Duterte has called for stronger multi-sectoral cooperation to ensure “a healthy human rights environment” for all.


In a pre-recorded message at the Human Rights Summit 2020 on Monday, the President said the Philippines will continue to honor treaty obligations on the protection and promotion of human rights.

Duterte recognized that the human rights summit, organized by the Department of Justice, is “an effective platform for the international community to enhance collaboration in the protection and promotion of human rights.”

“I am proud that the Philippines is one of the few countries that signed many of the world’s core human rights treaties. This affirms our serious commitment in honoring and fulfilling our treaty obligations and prioritizing the human rights agenda as a means to achieve our country’s sustainable development goals,” he said.

“Let me, however, stress that our work is far from over. I urge everyone to strengthen the multi-sectoral engagement that will foster a healthy human rights environment for all,” he added.

The three-day human rights summit, held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, carries the theme “Peace is the work of justice.” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had earlier said important human rights issues, including the rights guaranteed under the anti-terrorism law, will be discussed during the summit.

The President said he hopes the human rights summit will be “inspiring and productive.”

The Duterte administration has launched a controversial war on drugs that triggered concerns from human rights advocates here and abroad. President Duterte, in an address before the United Nations last September, defended his anti-drug crackdown to save and protect Filipinos and accused critics of weaponizing human rights to discredit his government.

In the same virtual UN summit, Duterte also justified that the anti-terrorism law was a crucial tool to enhance the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and protect people from harm. Despite criticisms that it might be prone to abuse, Duterte asserted that the anti-terrorism measure was pursuant to the government’s commitment and its strict adherence to the relevant Security Council resolutions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.