ICJ urges human rights approach to foreign fighters, solidarity with migrants, action on the Philippines

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in a general debate on the oral update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the ICJ addressed issues around “foreign fighters”, criminalisation of solidarity with migrants, and the need for international investigation of violations in the Philippines.

The statement was as follows (check against delivery):

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) thanks the High Commissioner for her oral update.

The ICJ agrees that accountability for crimes under international law committed by foreign fighters is essential; equally, it must be ensured through fair procedures. Where children are concerned, their best interests must be the guiding principle. [To the extent foreign fighters are addressed in relation to counter-terrorism measures, ICJ emphasizes that not only is disregard for human rights in countering terrorism wrong and unlawful in itself, it is also ineffective and indeed itself conducive to terrorism.]

The ICJ is also concerned at the criminalisation of solidarity with migrants in Europe and elsewhere. No one should be penalised for supporting human rights, including those that States fail to uphold. On Thursday, together with the OHCHR and the Geneva Bar Association, ICJ will screen a documentary in Room XIV, the UN Cinema, showing the impact of criminalization of solidarity.

The ICJ supports calls by the High Commissioner and Special Procedures for urgent action by the Human Rights Council on the Philippines. Adoption of a resolution at the current session to establish an independent international investigation is essential.

The huge number of killings in the name of countering drugs is part of a broader pattern of impunity. For instance, at least 39 lawyers have also been killed under the current administration, some of whom were representing victims of human rights violations. A fully independent national commission of inquiry and measures actually to bring perpetrators to justice are also needed to end the pervasive culture of impunity.”

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