Philippines slam UN Human Rights Council decision to probe drug war

Clay Curtis
July 13, 2019

Sotto issued this statement a day after 18 out of the 47-member states that make up the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to adopt an Iceland-led resolution on Thursday during its 41st session in Geneva, Switzerland.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has blasted Iceland over its sponsorship of a UN resolution demanding a comprehensive report on human rights situation in the Asian island nation, saying Reykjavik simply doesn't understand or have to deal with the kinds of problems he deals with, Philippine outlet Rappler has reported.

"This is not just a step towards paying justice for the thousands of families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, but it is also a message that we collectively send out to those who have praised President Duterte", said Ellecer (Budit) Carlos of the Manila-based rights group iDEFEND.

Locsin further described as politically partisan and one-sided the Iceland resolution, reiterating Manila's position to reject it.

"This resolution does not represent a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them", he added. It also calls on the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings.

The Human Rights Council voted to approve the investigation in a meeting in Geneva on Thursday. But nongovernment groups claim a much higher death toll, including many suspects killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen who human rights groups suspect were deployed by police.

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. questioned the validity of the resolution since it was "not universally adopted".

At the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Philippine delegates had lobbied furiously over the past week to try and prevent the resolution being passed and vehemently spoke out against its adoption on Thursday.

Since taking office in 2016, the president has waged a campaign against drugs that has killed thousands and been condemned by human rights advocates. "We will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith". Police say they have killed 6,600 who were armed and fought back during attempts to arrest them, but activists say there may have been as many as 27,000 drug-related killings overall. "There will be consequences, far-reaching consequences".

"Three years on, President Duterte's "war on drugs" continues to be nothing but a large-scale murdering enterprise for which the poor continue to pay the highest price", Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International's regional director for East and Southeast Asia, said in a statement. Human Rights Watch said more than 12,000 people have died.

About 6,600 people, a lot of them accused of petty drug crimes, have been killed in the crackdown that Duterte launched as his centerpiece project when he took office in mid-2016.

Last week, a three-year-old girl became one of the crackdown's youngest victims after she was shot dead in a drugs raid. "Let them state their objective and I will review, he told reporters Thursday, CNN Philippines reported". Police said they will investigate her killing, CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported.

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