Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin is scheduled to meet with United Nations Special Rapporteur Irene Khan in Malacañang on Thursday, February 1, according to a statement from the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS). The meeting will take place at 4 p.m. in the Bonifacio Hall.
Irene Khan arrived in the Philippines on January 22 and will be in the country until February 2 to assess the current state of rights to freedom of opinion and expression. While the PTFoMS did not specify the agenda for the meeting, it is worth noting that it comes at a time when there are reports of the International Criminal Court (ICC) gathering information and evidence for a possible case against former president Rodrigo Duterte and other personalities linked to the previous administration’s war on drugs.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has made it clear that the Philippine government will not cooperate with any ICC investigation. He has repeatedly stated that he does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC in the Philippines and considers it a threat to sovereignty. Marcos emphasized that the government will not assist in any investigation conducted by the ICC and has instructed government agencies not to provide any information if contacted by the court.
The ICC authorized the reopening of the inquiry in January 2023, after it was suspended in November 2021. In July 2023, the ICC Appeals Chamber also denied the government’s petition against the resumption of the inquiry. While Marcos has mentioned that returning to the fold of the international tribunal is under study, he has acknowledged the jurisdictional issues surrounding the matter.
It is important to note that the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute in 2019 during the Duterte administration, following the ICC’s initiation of an investigation into the government’s drug war. This decision has further complicated the relationship between the Philippines and the ICC.
The meeting between Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan holds significance in the context of ongoing international scrutiny of human rights issues in the Philippines. The presence of Khan, an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, underscores the global attention on the state of freedom of opinion and expression in the country.
As the meeting takes place, it remains to be seen how the discussions will unfold and whether the human rights situation in the Philippines, particularly the issue of the war on drugs, will be addressed. The outcome of this meeting could have implications for the Philippines’ relationship with the international community and its stance on cooperating with international investigations.
It is essential for the Philippines to engage in constructive dialogue with international bodies like the UN and the ICC to address concerns raised regarding human rights violations. By doing so, the country can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights of its citizens.
In conclusion, the meeting between Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and UN Special Rapporteur Irene Khan in Malacañang holds significance in the current international landscape. As the Philippines faces scrutiny over its human rights record, this meeting provides an opportunity for dialogue and engagement. The outcome of this meeting will be closely watched, as it may have far-reaching implications for the country’s relationship with the international community and its commitment to upholding human rights.
Source: The Manila Times