incremental improvements in the Philippines’ voting record on country situations,
there is still room for further progress. The Philippines’ membership on the
Council ended in 2014.
Voting Record in 2016
The Philippines’ voting record improved relatively in 2014, but does not yet reflect clear support for the Council’s mandate to address country situations. In a positive move, the Philippines shifted from opposing the resolution on Sri Lanka to abstaining. During the voting process, the Philippines also opposed a hostile non-action motion aimed at adjourning the Council’s debate on the same issue. The Philippines supported the resolution on Ukraine, adopted for the first time at the Council, and on North Korea, consistent with its position at the General Assembly since 2011. It abstained on all other country resolutions under Item 4, including on Iran, Belarus and all resolutions on Syria.
At the same time, the Philippines supported all resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
The Philippines was once again among seven members of the Council that failed to co-sponsor any country-specific resolutions at the Council in 2014. It did not support the calls to convene any special session this year, and the only two statements the Philippines made that addressed country situations were delivered during the Council’s special sessions on the conflict in Gaza and on the situation in Iraq.
While the Philippines’ performance in the Council visibly improved in 2014, it still has to demonstrate its commitment to engaging in support of the Council’s mandate to respond to country situations. As it is joining the group of observer states in 2015, the Philippines should urgently revisit its practices of not co-sponsoring country resolutions and of remaining silent during most country debates if it wants to remain a relevant actor at the Council.
Voting record in 2014
Support for key joint statements in 2014
In 2013, the Philippines did not vote in favor of any of the resolutions on country situations put to the vote under agenda items 2 and 4. This was a step backwards from its 2012 performance when the Philippines at least voted in favor of the resolution establishing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.
The Philippines also did not support any of the key joints statements addressing violations in particular countries. The Philippines was one of only two members of the Council that did not co-sponsor any country-specific resolutions in 2012 and 2013.
The Philippines voted in favor of all the resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. This record, when contrasted with its performance on country-specific work involving the rest of the world, illustrates selectivity in its engagement.
The Philippines government’s professed commitment to human rights makes its approach in the Council all the more concerning. For example, the government initially justified its position not to support any of the Syria
resolutions by explaining that it feared retaliation against Filipino
migrant workers residing in the country. The evacuation of a majority of
this population from Syria should have permitted a shift in this position, but
such a change did not occur. The Philippines should seriously revisit its
approach to the Council's work on country situations in 2014.