GENEVA, Switzerland – The Philippines drew the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to the activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in co-opting and exploiting human rights platforms and democratic spaces including the badge of “human rights defender” to serve hidden agendas of deceit and violence on the ground.
“Five decades of terrorism have been sustained by the group’s insidious ‘dual tactic’ that combines the armed struggle with the legal struggle, the second being in support of and as cover for the armed communist movement,” said Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, during the general debate under Agenda Item 4 of HRC43 on March 10.
Agenda Item 4 discusses human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.
Garcia said activities in the legal arena involve fundraising by front organizations for purported charitable programs and the use of international platforms to project legitimacy and to broaden its international network.
“The political objective is to discredit and topple any duly constituted democratic government and replace this with a communist government,” he added.
Garcia further cited the 2019 Global Terrorism Index that placed the Philippines among the top 10 countries most impacted by terrorism with the NPA dominating terrorist activities and responsible for most cases of terror-related deaths and incidents.
The Global Terrorism Index stated, “the NPA has engaged in an insurgency against the Filipino government for five decades and has been the Philippines’ deadliest terror group, causing 2,387 deaths since 1970.”
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“We call on states to uphold the standards of objectivity and due diligence by ensuring that our discussions are based on facts and substantiated information, not on sweeping allegations, and to pay significant attention to the work of domestic accountability mechanisms and judicial processes,” Garcia said.
He reiterated the Philippine government’s call for parties that raise allegations in the Council to provide specific information and facts and cooperate with the government.
Vigilance and support
Garcia recalled the strong guidance from UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the need for actions to be measured against transformations and impact on the ground.
The Council, he said, could use this guidance to ensure that it serves as a credible platform for dialogue and cooperation and highlighted that “this transformation cannot be achieved by unilateral measures that denigrate the role of States as duty bearers.”
Amid CPP-NPA-NDF use of human rights for malicious and violent political designs, the Philippine government urged the Council and the international community to exercise vigilance and to support the UN Secretary-General in his stern guidance on ensuring that human rights are not used as a vehicle for double standards and hidden agendas. (DFA)