1. The Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines welcomes the announcement by the Government of the Philippines to investigate the killings of nine individuals by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines on 7 March 2021 in Calabarzon region. Reports on the use of excessive force against unarmed individuals and alleged irregularities in the law enforcement operations have raised concerns.
2. We recall the commitment undertaken by the Philippines at the Human Rights Council to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, in accordance with due process under national courts of law and in full compliance with its international human rights obligations.
3. The EU Delegation recalls that during the 5 February 2021 meeting of the Sub-Committee on Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the EU and the Philippines discussed strengthening accountability and investigative measures. The EU and the Philippines agreed on the need to acknowledge and to protect human rights defenders and enable their work in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
4. We express our sincere condolences to the families of all the victims and look forward to the results of the investigations.