Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

United Nations rights council votes to probe Philippine drug killings

United Nations rights council votes to probe Philippine drug killings

This as the Philippines has rejected a resolution approved by the worldwide body that sought a comprehensive report on the country's human rights situation, including alleged extrajudicial killings in the government's drug war.

The Iceland-initiated resolution was adopted with 18 votes in favor, 14 against, and 15 abstentions.

The Philippines on Thursday, July 11 rejected a United Nations resolution that mandates a "comprehensive" global review of the drug war that has been ongoing since President Rodrigo Duterte took office three years ago.

"It was quite clear that they threatened consequences for those who had supported the resolution, which in turn makes us concerned for the many human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists on the ground", she said. It also calls on the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings.

Iceland joined the Human Rights Council past year after the Trump administration said the United States would leave the body, which resulted in an open seat.

The Human Rights Council voted to approve the investigation in a meeting in Geneva on Thursday.

The deputy Geneva director for Human Rights Watch, Leila Matar, described the resolution as "a modest but vital" step that "signals the start of accountability for thousands of "drug war"-related killings".

Locsin added that in light of this resolution, which was backed by several countries the Philippines considers allies including the United Kingdom and Australia, the foreign policy of the Philippines had shifted from "friend to all, enemy to none" to "friend to friends, enemy to enemies, and a worse enemy to false friends".

The Philippine delegation lobbied against the resolution.

NGOs denounce that the police terrorize poor communities, using "checklists" to identify drug addicts or drug dealers with the help of informants, and then raid the homes of suspects.

Myca Ulpina, a 3-year-old killed on June 29 near Manila, was among the latest and youngest known victims of the crackdown.

The Philippine government has acknowledged at least 6,600 deaths in the anti-drug campaign since 2016, but human rights groups believe the death toll is much higher. "The resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow and maliciously partisan". Other efforts domestically, regionally and internationally will likewise move forward, the aggregate of which will hopefully bring out the changes in policy and in leadership that prioritizes human and people's rights.

"Let them state their goal and I will review", he said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (July 12) branded as "idiots" the governments behind a United Nations rights body investigation into his narcotics crackdown that has killed thousands and drawn worldwide censure.

If Duterte permitted the investigation and it proceeded impartially, Panelo said, "We are certain its result will only lead to the humiliation of the investigators, as well as of Iceland and the 17 other nations".

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