United Nations human rights body censures Philippines
United Nations human rights body censures Philippines
UN To Investigate Philippines' Antidrug War
13 July, 2019, 23:33
The resolution on the Philippines, led by Iceland, was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council yesterday by a vote of 18 countries in favour and 14 against, with 15 abstentions.
Police in the Philippines say they have killed about 6,600 people in a harsh anti-drug campaign launched by President Rodrigo Duterte in the three years since he took office.
The delegation from the Philippines, which is among the council's 47 members, had lobbied hard against the resolution, which asks national authorities to prevent extrajudicial killings and co-operate with United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who is expected to report her findings in June 2020. "If these countries are really concerned with the so-called human rights abuses in this country, then they could have communicated formally with the government and we could have responded to them but they did not", Panelo said in an interview on ANC.
The resolution also urged the Philippine government to take up measures against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, conduct impartial investigations of human rights violations and hold those involved accountable.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission resolution against the Philippines merely dramatizes how useless the global body and its members are. The Philippines is a signatory to binding human rights treaties that allow for such mechanisms of investigation and accountability.
"Duterte denies involvement in summary executions and taunts human rights defenders with vows to widen the war on illegal drugs, which he says are making the country 'insane'". 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.
Teodoro Locsin, the Philippine foreign minister, condemned the resolution in a statement that was read in Geneva, saying it came "straight from the mouth of the queen in Alice in Wonderland".
"This vote provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines and countless more Filipinos bravely challenging the Duterte administration's murderous 'war on drugs, '" said Nicholas Bequelin of Amnesty International. "The resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow and maliciously partisan".
Last month, a three-year-old girl became one of the youngest victims of the war on drugs, after she was shot dead in a raid near Manila. Duterte has fired off insults at United Nations human rights experts, and the government sought to have the expert on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, declared a terrorist when she criticized the government's actions. There will be consequences: far-reaching ones. Police say her father Renato had used her as a human shield.
Laila Matar of New York-based Human Rights Watch criticized his comments.
Panelo said that if the president permitted the probe and if it is carried out impartially, it would only result in the humiliation of the investigators and those who backed the resolution.
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