Philippine lambastes Iceland, other European countries for "biased" criticism over human rights
MANILA, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines lashed out at Iceland, Britain and several other mostly European countries on Sunday for making what it calls "biased and unfounded criticism" of its human rights record.
According to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Iceland led 10 other members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in signing a joint statement against the Philippines.
In the joint statement issued at the UNHRC session in Geneva last week, the countries said the Philippines - as a member of the council - is obliged to fulfill its duty to promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The 47-member UNHRC said it might take action if Manila fails to fulfill its international human rights obligations.
"We regret that Iceland and several other countrie s maintained their position despite our offer for them to visit the Philippines and objectively asses the human rights situation, especially at the community level," Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in New York.
"Politics is politics but politicizing human rights endangers lives," Cayetano said in the statement he issued after Iceland and several other countries, including Britain, Australia and Finland, criticized the Philippines at the general debate of the 38th Session of the UNHRC.
In his statement during a command conference for Filipino diplomats from the Americas in New York, Cayetano lamented that he even personally extended an invitation to Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson to visit Manila to see for himself the human rights situation in the country.
"Unfortunately, it seems our friends are really not interested in arriving at the truth and would rather rely on the misinformation being fed to them by parties that have politicized and weaponized human rights," Cayetano said.
Philippine Permanent Representative Evan Garcia belittled Iceland and the other signatories of the joint statement critical of the human rights situation in the Philippines.
The ambassador cited numerous reports of exploitation of migrants under conditions of great vulnerability.
"We remind countries that have such severe shortcomings, including the United Kingdom and Australia, that the Philippines has preferred to engage with them in a positive manner, whether bilaterally or multilaterally," Garcia said, citing as examples the Global Forum for Migration and Development and in the ongoing negotiations for the Global Compact on Migration.
Garcia also noted that developing countries are hosting 80 percent of the world's refugees today. "It is a shame for developed countries to keep their eyes shut to this growing concern," he said.
& quot;The Philippines, a developing country even with its more than 100 million population, has been doing its small part in sharing the global burden of the protection of refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless persons and other persons of concern," he pointed out.Source: Google News Philippines | Netizen 24 Philippines