The Medical Action Group (MAG), of which Dr. Pagaduan-Lopez a member and former head of its program, Philippine Action Concerning Torture (PACT), welcomed her reelection, saying "this will considerably strengthen the mandate of the SPT in torture prevention particularly in the field of mental health rehabilitation of torture survivors and their families."
The Committee urges the State to stop and prevent extrajudicial killings and any form of violence against drug users; to promptly and thoroughly investigate all reported cases and punish the perpetrators with sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the crime; and to take all necessary measures to ensure that the fight against drug trafficking does not have a discriminatory impact on the poor and marginalized. The Committee also recommends that the State party reconsider the criminalization of drug users; adopt a right-to-health approach to drug abuse with harm reduction strategies, such as syringe exchange programs; and increase the availability of treatment services that are evidence-based and respectful of the rights of drug users.
"MAG called on the Philippines to become a consistent leader in the ASEAN region by implementing the Concluding Observations fully, and in particular to 'ensure the recognition and protection of human rights defenders in national laws'."
The UN CESCR today concluded its consideration of the combined 5th and 6th periodic report of the Philippines on its implementation of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.
"Another Expert was deeply concerned regarding human rights defenders, who were exposed to serious risks. Could the delegation comment why mandates who had asked for visits had not been warmly welcomed. What were the plans to stop the extrajudicial killings, measure to prevent the current war on drugs and from becoming a war against the poor?
An Expert, turning to the right to health, said that the country was taking a wrong and dangerous direction. There were tough penalties for possession and use of drugs, which resulted in the doubling of the prison population. What was being done to stop the extrajudicial killings and ensure that the war on drugs was not becoming a war on the poor?"
"In a joint submission, the International Service for Human Rights, the Medical Action Group, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact have highlighted the risks human rights defenders working on economic, social and cultural rights face in the Philippines.
Defenders are subject to threats, harassment, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and murder; all within a deep-rooted culture of impunity. In fact, Front Line Defenders ranks the Philippines as the second most dangerous country in terms of the number of human rights defenders murdered, while Global Witness ranks the Philippines as one of the most dangerous to be a land and environmental defender.
The 59th session of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will be held in Geneva from 19 September to 10 October 2016. The aim of the review will be to assess the Philippines’ progress towards compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights."