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'Culturally we are not ready for that': Philippines rebuffs UN on abortion, divorce, same-sex marriage

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by WorldTribune Staff, November 24, 2022

Government officials in the Philippines said the nation will not follow the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to allow abortion and divorce and to legalize same-sex marriage.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said such recommendations of other UN member-states during last week's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva are "not acceptable."

"It's a matter of policy whether we accept it or not and I think we know as a country, we are not ready for that," Remulla said in a press briefing on Nov. 21.

Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez said the UN’s recommendations were rejected outright by the Philippine delegation "because of national identity, our religious beliefs and our cultural traditions and the Philippine sovereignty that need to be protected and upheld at all times."

Out of the 179 UN member-states, 117 participated in this year's UPR.

Remulla said more than 100 member states sided with the Philippines or had positive notes "in the human rights performance of the Philippines."

He said around 15 UN member-states "remained in the negative. These are the usual countries that always pick on the Philippines. These are the rich countries from Europe that are very, very high on individual rights and have no notion of community rights. But I think we did very well."

Other than the Vatican, the Philippines is the only country where divorce is illegal.

Remulla added: "Culturally, our values may conflict with many of the values that they (Western countries) want to impose upon us. We are not ready for that, culturally we are not ready for that. That is our position right now."

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