Statement on the Philippine Government’s Attempt to Delay the Universal Periodic Review
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) expresses concern on the request made by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Philippines to the United Nation that seeks for deferral of the Country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The decision made by the Philippine Government is inconsistent with the country’s commitment, as a founding member of the Human Rights Council, to uphold and respect the rules of the UPR as well as to the Council in general.
The UPR is a comprehensive peer evaluation of all UN member states undertaken by the UN Human Rights Council. The process is done every 4.5 years. The Philippines is supposed to be one of the States under Review during the upcoming 27th Session of the UPR scheduled on May 2017.
In the formal letter, the Philippine Government expressed their intention to defer the UPR to 2018 due to administrative reasons. ASC believes that there is no exceptional circumstance that will hinder the country from engaging in the UPR. The government has the capacity to mobilize its domestic institutions and resources to fulfill its commitment to the UPR.
ASC believes that the request for deferral casts a negative light on the capacity and commitment of the Philippine Government to serve as the Chairperson of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in 2017. By proposing a deferral, the Philippine Government indirectly sets a negative precedent to fellow ASEAN member states.
It is important to note that several civil society groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) organizations, have started engaging on the UPR including by submitting alternative reports and conducting local consultations with stakeholders.
Through this statement, we hope that the UN Human Rights Council will not consider the request made by the Philippines. The UN Human Rights Council should show its stand on upholding the mandate and rules of the UPR by giving no exception to any country and help the civil society to hold the government accountable.
In Manila: Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus
In Jakarta: Cornelius Hanung, Advocacy Officer, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus