Ex-President Duterte’s prosecution for ‘crimes against humanity’ pushed

Progressive groups in the country pushed for the prosecution of former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his alleged “crimes against humanity.”

Alliance of Filipino women, Gabriela, on Monday, Nov. 14, said attacks carried out against women activists during the Duterte administration included “sexual innuendoes,” “contemptuous and anti-women remarks” to the “outrightly brutal extrajudicial killings.”

The statement was released in time for the fourth examination of the Philippines’ human rights record. The scheduled examination was spearheaded by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland.

The first UPR review was held in April 2008, followed by the second examination in May 2012. The third review took place in May 2017.

“Red-tagging, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings have continued under the present administration,” said Gabriela, stressing that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is responsible for ensuring that victims will attain justice.

With this, Gabriela pushed for the creation of comprehensive programs to promote human rights values and standards, especially the protection of women activists and rights defenders in the country.

'Stronger demands for justice and accountability'

Meanwhile, rights group Karapatan, in a separate statement, said around 442 civilians – “mostly peasants, indigenous and Moro peoples” were documented to have been killed during the Duterte administration.

“To date, there are 842 political prisoners in the Philippines, with 15 of them arrested and detained under the current administration,” said Karapatan, denouncing the continuous filing of made-up charges against Filipino rights defenders.

This was likewise supported by labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno who reiterated that all those involved in human rights violations – from the past to the current regime – must be held accountable.

Members of Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno supports the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council in the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of KMU)

Following the conduct of the 4th UPR cycle, Karapatan disclosed that they are expecting “stronger demands for justice and accountability” amid the calls for an end to the killings and human rights violations in the Philippines.