Syria Not a Human Rights Issue for the Philippines?

As the photo indicates, the Philippines was the only member of the UN Human Rights Council to be absent during a vote on Friday, June 1, in Geneva condemning the grave rights abuses in Syria and requesting the Commission of Inquiry to urgently conduct a “comprehensive, independent, and unfettered special inquiry” into the El-Houleh killings and to attempt to publicly identify those responsible. The resolution passed with 41 countries voting yes, 3 no, 2 abstentions — and 1 absent.

“Apparently the Philippine delegation had better things to do during the crucial Human Rights Council vote on Syria,” said Julie de Rivero, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. “One has to wonder why the Philippines became a Human Rights Council member in the first place.”

The Commission of Inquiry has been tasked to look into the killings on May 25 in El-Houleh, Syria, in which 108 people, including 49 children and 34 women, were killed by artillery and tank fire from Syrian forces. Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has said the attacks “may amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes.”

Photo by Julie de Rivero / © 2012 Human Rights Watch

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado is a social media practitioner with over 9 years experience in blogging, citizen advocacy and online media publishing. Otherwise known as @MomBlogger on social media, she believes in making a difference in the lives of her children by advocating social change for social good. She is the editor of Blog Watch ( and the features editor of the Philippine Online Chronicles (, a platform for alternative viewpoints and a synthesizer of ideas. She writes about good governance, transparency, parenting, women’s rights and wellness, and digital citizenship . She also blogs at her personal blogs : (parenting) , (recipes), (gadgets) and (lifestyle).

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