State terror in the Philippines: The Alston Report, human rights and counter-insurgency under the Arroyo administration
The human rights agenda of the United Nations has faltered over recent years. An examination of conditions in a country such as the Philippines highlights some of the reasons. The appallingly high number of political killings in that country was investigated by Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, early in 2007. Following a well-defined process of review, he spent a short but difficult time examining the situation. His report condemned repressive elements of the Philippine state and directed specific criticisms at the armed forces, noting the omnipresent role of counter-insurgency. He found that a culture of impunity prevailed within the military and that the Arroyo administration had not done enough to address the problem or to protect the rights of its citizens. Alston's visit provided an insight into both the Philippine government's inadequate human rights record and the failure of UN mechanisms established to redress such poor performance.