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Vatican says Philippine killings ‘deeply troubling’

May 16, 2017 ·  By Paterno Esmaquel II for www.rappler.com

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The Vatican also voices concern over enforced disappearances as well as human trafficking in the Philippines

'DEEPLY TROUBLING.' The Vatican on May 8, 2017, condemns extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines. Screenshot from webtv.un.org

‘DEEPLY TROUBLING.’ The Vatican on May 8, 2017, condemns extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines. Screenshot from webtv.un.org

MANILA, Philippines – The Vatican condemned “deeply troubling” extrajudicial killings in the Philippines as the Southeast Asian country underwent a periodic United Nations (UN) review of its human rights record.

The Vatican at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Monday, May 8, also voiced concern over enforced disappearances as well as human trafficking in the Philippines.

The Vatican’s representative, Monsignor Mauro Cionini, began his remarks by saying the Vatican delegation “recognizes the many positive steps that the Philippines has taken toward the elimination of trafficking in persons.”

“However, there remain troubling reports of trafficking of Filipino men and women, and children, for labor exploitation. The perpetuation of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances is also deeply troubling,” Cionini said.

Cionini made these comments at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council, which the Philippines underwent on Monday at the UN headquarters in Geneva.

The UPR checks the human rights records of each UN member state. Created in 2006, it aims “to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.”

UN member states like the Philippines have to undergo the UPR every 4 years.

Maintain protection of life’

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, co-head of the Philippine delegation, spoke on behalf of the Philippines during the UPR on Monday. (READ: Cayetano to UN: No new wave of killings in PH)

After Cayetano’s speech, UN member states took turns in making interventions.

The Vatican, or the Holy See, enjoys by choice a permanent observer status at the UN. It is the world’s smallest state, which keeps full diplomatic ties with 177 out of 193 UN member countries, including the Philippines.

The Vatican’s representative was the 37th UN member state to comment on the Philippines’ human rights record.

In his remarks, Cionini also offered at least 4 recommendations for the Philippines:

  • “to increase efforts aimed at combating trafficking in persons and all forms of exploitation of children, but inter alia taking the necessary measures to prevent impunity for perpetrators”
  • “to maintain the protection of the right of life from conception to natural death”
  • “to sustain and promote the family-based marriage between a man and a woman, and the natural and fundamental unit of society”
  • “to continue to announce laws and policies of access to education for the most disadvantaged learners as done through the alternative learning system program”

Like the Vatican, 44 other UN member states aired concern about the recent Philippine killings linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

China stood out, however, for hailing the Philippines for its “relentless efforts” to promote human rights.

China’s representative, Ma Zhaoxu, also urged the world to respect Philippine sovereignty and support the country’s anti-drug campaign. – Rappler.com

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