Press Release
June 21, 2023

Tolentino: Accepting Afghan refugees is the highest form of human rights compliance for PH

WASHINGTON D.C. - Senator Francis 'TOL' N. Tolentino said that accepting displaced refugees is the highest standard when it comes to the adherence to international human rights commitment.

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel direct from Washington D.C., Tolentino said that the Philippines being part of the community of nations has the "moral obligation" to render necessary assistance to displaced persons, just like many people in Afghanistan who are currently being persecuted and threatened following the Fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban in 2021.

"Itong ginagawa nating ito, this is the highest form of compliance with human rights obligations, yung tanggapin mo yung mga nangangailangan na mga kababaihan--mga nangagaling sa Afghanistan... wala na tayong patutunayan dito," said Tolentino, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

In light of the persisting humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Tolentino earlier favored the Philippine government's initiative to extend help to Afghans who have been tragically affected by the decades-long war.

Tolentino once again stressed that he sees nothing wrong on the idea of accepting Afghan refugees, noting that "it is legal" since the Philippines is "bound to comply with several (international) treaties," particularly the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR); the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

"I don't see any reason to hype the hysteria all over again. Is it illegal to help a fellow human being in need? Is it illegal to provide a temporary shelter for someone in need? I don't see anything wrong. In the age of conscience, morality, and principles of international law would justify all of these" he added.

The senator explained that by aiding Afghans who are currently seeking refuge from their war-torn nation is the best chance for the Philippine government to prove its doubters and critics wrong over their accusations of allegedly not totally fulfilling the country's human rights obligations.

"Lagi po tayong sinasabihan ng European Union, lagi po tayong sinasabihan ng ilang bansa na hindi tayo tumutupad sa human rights obligation natin... this is the highest level of compliance within international humanitarian laws and human rights obligations of the Philippines," said Tolentino.

News Latest News Feed