Statement delivered by Michelle McGillivray, Acting Permanent Representative, 30 June 2020

Madam President,

New Zealand welcomes the Government of the Philippines’ substantive engagement with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the preparation of this report.

Firstly, New Zealand acknowledges the strong relationship between our two countries. We also recognise that the country faces a range of complex internal challenges – such as poverty, armed conflict, terrorism and illegal drugs.

However, responding to these challenges must be done in accordance with international human rights law. We are concerned by the report’s findings that a heavy-handed focus on countering national security threats and illegal drugs has resulted in serious human rights violations. These include reports of extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary detentions. New Zealand also continues to be concerned about the vilification, harassment and killings of persons exercising their rights to freedom of expression such as human rights defenders and journalists.

We urge the government of the Philippines to undertake effective, prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of serious violations and abuses of international human rights law, and to hold perpetrators accountable. 

Finally, New Zealand would like to encourage the Government of the Philippines to cooperate with the United Nations system - including the Office of the High Commissioner who is ready to constructively and concretely support the Philippines - to promote and protect human rights.

Thank you Madam President.