Tirades a small price for upholding PH sovereignty: Catura

MANILA -- Being berated for telling the truth is a small price for upholding the Philippines' sovereignty and dignity before the international community, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Undersecretary Severo Catura said.

Catura was reacting to the reported dismay of human rights defenders over the Philippine delegation's walkout during the June 25 informal session where the Iceland-initiated draft resolution over the country's campaign against illegal drugs was being discussed.

Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization, in a recent news report, said the behavior of the Philippine officials was not only shocking and irresponsible but highlights the Duterte administration's desperation to deflect the issues raised in the resolution.

The discussions are in connection with the 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

"If (Carlos) Conde (Philippine researcher at Human Rights Watch) insists on berating us for standing for truth; for telling the world that Filipinos are a strong people holding its ground against terrorism, corruption, criminality, and illegal drugs; for looking at State and NGO (non-government organization) bullies straight in the eye and putting them in their rightful places; and for upholding our nation’s sovereignty and dignity before the international community, such (Conde’s tirade) is a small price to pay," Catura, who is also the head of the Philippine delegation, said in a statement forwarded to the Philippine News Agency.

He added that they are tasked by the Filipino people to speak firmly and honestly on their behalf. 

"We owe our people no less than this, that is, to speak firmly and honestly on their behalf," he said.

Catura earlier said Iceland's draft resolution against the Philippines' anti-illegal drug campaign as a "divisive motion" to the UNHRC context.

The draft seeks intervention from the UNHRC to address the deaths related to the drug campaign and calls on the Philippine government to facilitate country visits by UN special rapporteurs.

He said the Philippines has an established principle against a country-specific resolution in the UN that is also shared by a majority of the countries -- to promote and enhance constructive dialogue and cooperation.

"It is the latter’s context that we view Iceland’s resolution as a divisive motion and not particularly useful in the UN Human Rights Council’s context," he added. (PNA)

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