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Hinanay, Grace Anne Nicole R.

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I do not agree with the President’s decision to withdraw from any of the treaties that we
are a signatory to.

It is important to remember that treaties are instruments for ensuring stability, reliability
and order in international relations. It is one of the most important elements of
international peace and security and a primary source of legal relations between States.

One of the treaties that our President has signed is the Paris Agreement on Climate
Change restricting greenhouse gas emissions which came into force on November 4,
2017. This agreement aims to transform the world’s fossil fuel driven economy within
decades and slow the pace of a global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees
Celsius.

Manila has committed to reduce its emissions by 70 percent by 2030, but it will need
technical and financial support to achieve it but it will be allowed to access the Green
Climate Fund, which aims to channel billions of dollars to help poor nations tackle global
warming.

Our President has expressed his opinion that the agreement will be hurtful for our
country’s efforts to industrialize and in favor of rich nations like the United States but
after a relenting cabinet decision, he decided to honor the agreement.

However, the President has expressed his strong desire to follow the footsteps of
Russia and withdraw from the International Criminal Court since he has received
numerous criticisms and allegations from the ICC. I strongly disagree with the
President’s opinions about the ICC.

In light of the extra-judicial killings that is happening in our country, we cannot stop the
other member states from inquiring into our domestic affairs since the number of killings
have reached thousands. We also cannot stop them from alleging that the state
sponsored these drug-related killings.

But the President needs to remember that the ICC will act only when the national courts
“are unable or unwilling to exercise jurisdiction.” The court, however, will not displace or
overwrite the role of national courts but aims to complement it.

We still have control over the issue in our national courts. Also, if the state did not
sponsor any of the killings, there is nothing to worry about. To withdraw our membership
in the midst of our situation is to send a message to other member states that we may
be guilty of the allegations that it is a state sponsored killing. It will also send a message
to other member states that we do not value human rights. We should honor
international agreements and conventions that promote and safeguard human rights
and the dignity of the people. Quoting Senator Leila De Lima “It is our President and
our duty as a nation and as a people hat the gravest crimes, such as genocide, war
crimes and crimes against humanity, are not tolerated,”

In my opinion, we should welcome special procedures rapporteurs in our country. These


individuals or groups from different United Nations regional groupings are appointed by
the Human Rights Council and they serve in their personal capacities.

They undertake to uphold independence, efficiency, competence and integrity through


probity, impartiality, honesty and good faith. They are not United Nations staff members
and do not receive financial remuneration. Therefore, we do not need to worry about
prejudice because the independent status of the mandate holders is crucial for them to
be able to fulfill their functions in all impartiality.

The special rapporteurs act on individual cases of alleged violations and concerns of a
broader, structural nature by sending communications to States; conducting thematic
studies and convening expert consultations, contributing to the development of
international human rights standards.

In 2016, the Palace sent an invitation to UN special rapporteur Callamard, officially


inviting her to conduct an inquiry into allegations of human rights violations against the
Duterte administration. However, the invitation came with a condition from the President
to have a public debate first before allowing her to proceed with her probe, and that she
be placed under oath before answering questions from the government. Callamard
refused to heed to the President’s conditions because it will violate UN protocols for
country visits.

The government does not need to worry about impartiality of the inquiry because there
will be a high level debriefing with the government at the end of the visit which provides
an opportunity for the authorities to present their preliminary feedback and responses.
The President will have plenty of opportunities to question the context of the debriefing,
refute or debate the preliminary findings. Therefore, there is no harm in allowing special
rapporteurs to enter our country and conduct their studies.