UN rights body narrowly passes resolution on Philippines

Cheryl Sanders
July 13, 2019

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.

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 cooperate with United Nations human rights boss Michelle Bachelet, who is to report her findings in June 2020. He vowed that the government's commitment to protect the public against crime will not weaken following the resolution.

"Do not presume to threaten states with accountability for a tough approach to crushing crime", he also said. 'You don't have the wherewithal, so all you can do is insult.

In the run-up to Thursday's vote, Philippine diplomats lobbied fiercely to dissuade council members from supporting what they considered to be a hostile resolution. "It can not, in good conscience, abide by it".

"We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution, so detached from the truth on the ground, " Mr. Locsin said in a statement.

The text, initially proposed by Iceland, calls on 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.

The resolution calls on national authorities, including the Filipino government, to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances.

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. "We will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith. There will be consequences, far-reaching consequences".

The Philippine president, known for his crude off-the cuff remarks, has faced criticism over his government's drug war, which has led to thousands of deaths, including extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers by police. Some children have also been killed in the crossfire or in mistaken-identity shootings. 'To that responsibility, my president has made an ... unwavering and total commitment, and it will not be weakened by this ill-fated resolution, he added. According to media reports and human rights activists, number of victims is between 27,000 and 30,000, counting the murders committed by vigilantes.

"We are fortunate enough to enjoy human rights in Iceland, which we take for granted", Thordarson later said in an interview with mbl.is, an Icelandic news organization.

Duterte has yet to say whether he would give approval for global investigators to operate in the Philippines.

Iceland has nothing but ice, and, therefore, fails to understand the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed after the Nordic nation urged a UN human rights body to probe his drug policies. "We hope this renewed scrutiny can focus some attention here so the perpetrators will think twice or three times before doing what they do", Chito Gascon, chairman of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, told Reuters.

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