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UN probers must have freedom – De Lima

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 231

SENATOR Leila de Lima has objected to the reported plan of the Duterte administration to “limit” the movement of the United Nations team which will visit the country to look into the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug traffickers.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently invited concerned officials from the UN and the European Union (EU) to come over and see for themselves the alleged human rights abuses under his administration, specifically the murders of alleged drug dealers.
        
“While it is within the prerogative of the Philippine government as the host country, through the DFA, to set reasonable parameters for the visit of the UN special rapporteurs and other UN probers, I find questionable the announced rule that it is the government that will decide the places to be visited and the persons to be interviewed by these probers,” said De Lima.
        
“What kind of investigation can we expect if the government is going to decide how the investigation is going to be conducted by the UN rapporteur’s team?” she asked.
        
“What is the sense of inviting independent probers if they are not going to be allowed freedom of movement and action, and are going to be dictated upon on the extent of their visits and sources of information?” she stressed
        
De Lima said that “under any standards, an investigation under such constraints can no longer be deemed independent.”
        
“Protocol does not mean censorship and control over the ability of the UN team to conduct an independent, credible and exhaustive probe,” she added.
       
De Lima was recently ousted as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights tasked to probe the rising number of summary killings amid allegations that she was using the public hearing to advance her political interests which she denied.