The Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) and students of the Ateneo Law School’s (ALS) International Human Rights Law class submitted a shadow report to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. The report focused on summary and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Foremost among the issues discussed in the report is the vague legal definition of “extrajudicial killings” in Philippine law and jurisprudence which affects investigation and prosecution as authorities and stakeholders do not have a clear understanding of the crime.
Issues on due process were also included in the report. Local news are replete with stories where alleged drug users or pushers are found dead. These suspects are not afforded due process and their rights as persons accused of crimes are not respected.
|Ateneo Human Rights Center Executive Director Atty. Ray Paolo Santiago discusses the importance of the the shadow report.|
Apart from the issue on due process, the shadow report also highlighted that the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties of law enforcement agents cannot be used as a defense when they commit abuses or crimes. The killings of indigenous peoples, media personnel, and other groups related to the Duterte Administration’s “war on drugs” are also highlighted in the said report. It concluded with emphasis that impunity and lack of accountability of authorities responsible for the killings remain key issues in the past and current administrations.
|Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon reminds the students to be vigilant and active.|
The shadow report was submitted to provide additional information to the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines in May 2017. The UPR is a cooperative mechanism meant to ensure faithful compliance by States parties of their human rights obligations. Through the UPR, each UN Member State undergoes a peer review, wherein other Member States are able to comment on the former’s progress in relation to upholding human rights and provide recommendations. The last time that the Philippines had its UPR was in 2012.
|The exercise enriched the students' learning experience by allowing them to apply the conventions and and law they study in class.|
The preparation and submission of the shadow report was spearheaded by Atty. Ryan Jeremiah D. Quan, who co-teaches the International Human Rights Law class. ALS Professors and AHRC lawyers Amparita Sta. Maria, Gilbert Sembrano, Ray Paolo Santiago, Maria Patricia Cervantes-Poco, Anne Maureen Manigbas, and Ma. Cecille Lumague-Corpuz also contributed and supervised students who worked on the report. The exercise enriched the students’ learning as it allowed them to apply the conventions and laws they study in class by engaging a UN human rights mechanism.
The full report submitted on 22 September 2016 can be accessed here.