19jul14-Locsin on UNHRC human rights reso
POSTSCRIPT / July 14, 2019 / Sunday
Locsin on UNHRC human rights reso
MANY readers are asking what Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. actually said after the UN Human Rights Council adopted on July 11 by a vote of 18 in favor, 14 against, and 15 abstentions, a resolution filed by Iceland for a review of the human rights situation in the Philippines. This was his statement, for the record.
In 1945, the Philippines, along with 50 other states, founded the United Nations. We were not yet independent. But the Filipino people – for having taken in the wretched of the earth – won its place at the Creation of the United Nations.
We helped create the UN to honor the universal values of respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of state which were brazenly and brutally violated on a global scale by those who censured us today. There is too the value of dialogue which is violated by the high-handed insistence that it be one sided while the other side keeps quiet, the latter to speak in its defense but only in proceedings dictated by the former to ensure its agreeable result.
In the process leading to the adoption of this resolution, we have witnessed the very opposite of these values that hold the UN together. We have seen its mandate “weaponized” for the sake of interests with the evident means to get it done.
This resolution was not universally adopted. Therefore, its validity is highly questionable. It does not represent the will of the Council, much less that of the developing countries who are always the target of such resolutions. Western countries pushed for this resolution in the confidence that the world has forgotten what they did and what should have been done to them had there been a Human Rights Council. It was pushed with the arrogance that developing countries must not stand up to them even if we can and as we hereby do. There will be consequences.
They sought to bring a people and a country, with an unblemished human rights record, down to the level of the authors of atrocities the world must not forget: of Amritsar, Mau Mau and the Boer War; Ragawede and the murder of Anne Frank and her kind; the trendsetting holocaust of the Congo; the profiling of Romani people; the massacre of aborigines at Forrest River; the culmination of Leopold’s Ghost in Bergen-Belsen to name one of a sprawling network of extermination camps; slave trading in the West Indies and the abduction of Inuit children as part of the eradication of that race’s way of life; Addis Ababa and the invention of death from above (though that distinction is shared with the author of Amritsar); Setif and the drowning of North Africans in the river Seine; the cowardice of European UN peacekeepers who stepped aside to allow the massacre of those they had herded together for their safety; the dissolution and consequent anarchy of North African and Middle Eastern countries, and the revival of the slave trade from there; and the callous expulsion of refugees crossing the Mediterranean to escape the European miscalculation.
But we will not engage in throwing at each other the bodies of each side’s respective victims. We cannot compete with the West.
The Philippines is affronted that we should be named with the very breath of these authors of these atrocities, the same ones so bold to condemn us – we who opened our arms to save their victims before the War, and well into the savage wars of peace culminating in the Vietnam War to whose victims we gave shelter when everyone else turned them away.
But let us be clear on this: this resolution is not a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them that should honor the character of the author and co-sponsors of the resolution.
It is an example of how these countries – they who are least entitled to make such accusations, incited by false information from sources peddling their untruths for money, or who have allowed themselves to be played by the ill will of a few – have undermined the Human Rights Council to advance their agenda and target a government that’s hostile to the very things they have done and continue to do, and about which there is overwhelming proof.
This resolution flies in the face of everything the Philippines has worked for when it founded the Human Rights Council in 2006, and when it advanced the work towards realizing a Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the 1940s, insisting on strong commitments for justice, dignity and conscience, and the rights of women — a concept almost unheard of then.
The responsibility to protect starts with protecting the good against the bad, the innocent against the vicious. We invoke the government’s great power – and therefore commensurate responsibility – to protect human rights as multilateral bodies cannot. Foremost among those rights is the right to be protected from crime by the state.
Do not presume to threaten states with accountability for a tough approach to crushing crime, at which some of your countries are complicit at worst and tolerant at best. You don’t have the wherewithal, so all you can do is insult. The United Nations is a collection of sovereignties and not a sovereign collective.
Thus, the Philippines rejects this resolution. It cannot, in good conscience, abide by it. We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution, so detached from the truth on the ground. It comes straight from the mouth of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, “First the judgment, then the proof.”
The temptation is strong to walk away from all this with well-deserved contempt for the minority of countries that have the least moral standing to raise their false issues to the discredit of the Human Rights Council. But the Philippines must remain true to the cause of human rights. We will continue to work in the Council to advance a noble mandate to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, and rescue it from its misuse.
The Philippines renews its solemn responsibility to protect the law-abiding against the lawless by any means efficient to achieve the defining purpose for the existence and expense of a state. To that responsibility, my President has made an iron, unwavering and total commitment; and it will not be weakened by this ill-fated resolution.
Our foreign policy was summed up as being “Friend to all, enemy to none.” In the face of today’s changing realities, I refined this to “Friend to friends, enemy to enemies, and a worse enemy to false friends.” We renew our solidarity with our true friends who have stood by us in this farce. But we will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith. There will be consequences; far-reaching ones.•
(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 14, 2019. Follow the author on Twitter as @FDPascual.)
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