United Nations drug war probe rejected by top Duterte diplomat

Nellie Chapman
July 13, 2019

The measure, presented by Iceland, cites allegations of thousands of killings since President Rodrigo Duterte launched a campaign against illegal drugs in mid-2016.

Since then at least 6,600 dealers or users have been killed, according to police, but activists say more than 27,000 people have died. "This resolution does not represent a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them". Police say her father, Renato, used his daughter as a human shield. "Ask the people, if I am the face of war, why did they make me win as a senator?"

Leila Matar, deputy director for Human Rights Watch in Geneva, hailed the resolution as "a modest but vital" step that "signals the start of accountability for thousands of "drug war"-related killings". "The challenge now is to ensure that the process moves quickly to compel the Philippine government to stop the killings and prosecute those responsible".

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.

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.

While the resolution did not establish a full commission of enquiry, as many activists had hoped it would, the green light for Bachelet to begin investigations is the council's strongest condemnation of Duterte's actions yet and could have severe consequences.

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The resolution calls on countries to increase measures to ensure the rights of the disabled amid the impacts of climate change, including their participation in the building and launching of projects against changing climate at local, national and global levels.

Duterte has yet to say whether he would give approval for worldwide investigators to operate in the Philippines. "Also, and you know, 'yung CPP-NPA is so against the Duterte administration now", Albayalde said. 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.

The session also adopted 15 other resolutions regarding information technology and human rights, the rights of migrants, the removal of discrimination against woman and girls.

On Friday, Duterte took a swipe at the country that introduced the resolution, in a rambling speech to Corrections Department officials.

Duterte, asked by reporters in Manila whether he would allow access to United Nations rights officials to investigate, said: "Let them state their goal and I will review it".

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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