PH gov’t told to ‘fully comply’ with UN rights council resolution on Myanmar

Published February 15, 2021, 8:16 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Two local human rights groups on Monday called on the Philippine government to fully comply with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution calling for the release and restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders and the lifting of the state of emergency in Myanmar.

In a joint statement, iDEFEND and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) lamented the decision of the Duterte administration to dissociate itself from the UNHRC resolution and even shared Russia and China’s view that Myanmar’s military coup is an internal matter.

“This had been the cornerstone of Philippine foreign policy ever since the start of President Duterte’s war on drugs, wherein his government fully rejected any inquiry on the basis of its international human rights obligations,” they said, adding that in 2019, the Philippines and China were the only countries which rejected a UNHRC resolution condemning, and calling for an end to the violence and human rights violations against the Rohingya population and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, along with other civilian leaders in Myanmar, were arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Feb. 1 that was preceded by the military’s declaration of a state of emergency. 

On February 12, 2021, the UNHRC adopted Resolution A/HRC/S-29/L.1 after the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions, arms embargoes, and travel bans in response to the military coup. 

Both the iDEFEND and PAHRA maintained that Duterte’s consistent pro-China stance in the international body “serves to hide his own domestic human rights calamity, and evades the likelihood of international scrutiny towards the massive summary killings and gross human rights violations, including against human rights defenders in the Philippines.”

“Freedom and democracy in Myanmar can only be protected when freedom and democracy in our country is defended and strengthened,” the two rights advocates said.