12 February 2007
The United Nations independent human rights expert on extrajudicial executions is the Philippines today on a ten-day official visit. Philip Alston, an Australian national who is Professor of International Law at New York University, is the Human Rights Council's independent expert for extrajudicial executions. His role includes investigating individual cases and systemic causes of such killings in all UN member states. While he will be visiting the Philippines at the invitation of the Government, his mission is designed to enable him to meet with as broad a range of people and groups as possible.
The visit will include meetings with representatives of all three branches of government, including members of the Cabinet, the parliamentary human rights commissions, the military, the police, the Supreme Court, and the Public Prosecutor's office. Mr. Alston will also hold meetings with victims' groups, human rights NGOs and other civil society groups. Most of the visit will take place in the Greater Manila metropolitan area, but Mr. Alston will also travel to Baguio in Northern Luzon and to Davao City on the Southern island of Mindanao.
Mr Alston is an independent expert and he alone is responsible for determining with whom he will meet while in the Philippines. He has extensive experience in the human rights field, including eight years as Chairperson of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, principal legal adviser to UNICEF in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
As a result of the visit, Mr. Alston will submit to the Human Rights Council a report analyzing the compliance by the Philippines with international law in the area of the right to life and making recommendations to more effectively prevent violations.