UN Launches Probe on Philippines Drug War Deaths

13 Juillet, 2019, 11:12 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Duterte also renewed his pledge to protect authorities enforcing his bloody drugs crackdown as a UN rights probe gets underway

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday narrowly approved a resolution mandating a "comprehensive" global review of the Philippines drug war, which watchdogs say has killed more than 20,000 people.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, however, condemned the resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva as Western meddling in Philippine government affairs and questioned the validity of the narrow vote. Presented by Iceland, the text obtained the favorable vote of 18 countries.

"This is not just a step toward 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.

Referring to frequent criticism that he publicly gave police orders to kill, he said there was nothing wrong with protecting his country.

It calls on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to prepare a "comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines", over the coming year.

Protesters rail against alleged extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, August 16, 2018.

Eighteen countries voted in favor of adopting the resolution submitted by Iceland before the UNHRC on July 4 to launch the preliminary investigation. "We need a human rights approach to fighting crime", Callamard went on.

"Let them state their objective and I will review".

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United Nations rights council orders 'report' on Philippines drug war
Fourteen countries voted against the call, including the Philippines, while 15 abstained. He urged the Philippine government to cooperate with investigators.

In light of that effort, supporters of the resolution considered it something of a victory that so many countries abstained rather than opposing the measure.

Manila says police have killed 5,300 drug suspects who resisted arrest, rejecting the estimates of rights groups who say the crackdown - that remains popular with many Filipinos - has left more than 20,000 dead.

However, Albayalde said the PNP will submit to the wisdom of President Duterte, who, the police chief said, has the final say in the matter.

The vote came against the backdrop of renewed worldwide scrutiny of Duterte's war on drugs, which three years on has remained as violent as ever. Some local nongovernmental organizations and the national Commission on Human Rights have placed the death toll at more than 27,000. "We need accountability", she further said.

Any inquiry looks set to infuriate Manila.

He had said ahead of the vote that he would consider allowing United Nations rights staff into the country, but made no mention of this in his comments on Friday.

On Friday, Duterte took a swipe at the country that introduced the resolution, in a rambling speech to Corrections Department officials. Since taking the seat left vacant when the United States withdrew from the council past year, Iceland has actively supported several contentious resolutions that many other nations have avoided for fear of retaliation by powerful states.

"Evidently, the resolution was created to embarrass the Philippines before the worldwide community and the global audience", Panelo said.

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