[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Thursday urged the United Nations [press release] to scrutinize the Philippine government's response to accusations that the Philippines military has engaged in extrajudicial killings of left-wing activists since 2001. HRW's press release comes two weeks before the UN Human Rights Council [official website] is scheduled to hold the first meeting of the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines [UN backgrounder, PDF], which will consider the reports of extrajudicial killings. Human rights advocates say almost 900 people have been killed since President Gloria Arroyo [official website; BBC profile] assumed power in 2001, while more than 180 have disappeared and are thought to have been killed. The military has denied any involvement in the killings, blaming the deaths on Communist rebels.
Concern over the alleged extrajudicial killings ripened after a 2007 UN report [DOC text; JURIST report], authored by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston, concluded that the Philippines armed forces have followed a "deliberate strategy" of killing left-wing activists. In July, Arroyo urged lawmakers [transcript; JURIST report] from both houses of Congress to pass legislation to curb extrajudicial killings and disappearances, but HRW said Thursday she has not fulfilled her promise to fully investigate the killings. AP has more.