UN rights council votes to probe Philippine drug killings

PHILSTAR/JOVEN CAGANDETHE United Nations has approved a resolution to investigate President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on drugs that has killed thousands.
The UN Human Rights Council on July 11 ordered the human rights office to present a comprehensive report as it expressed concerns about human rights violations in the Philippines. The body adopted a resolution that Iceland proposed and 17 other nations supported.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. rejected the resolution that he said “does not represent the will of the council, much less that of the developing countries who are always the target of such resolutions.’’
“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. “It comes straight from the mouth of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, ‘First the judgment, then the proof.’”
The council urged the government to cooperate with UN offices by allowing visits by its officials and by “refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.”
The resolution also called on the Philippines “take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable.”
Philippine police have said they have killed more than 6,000 people in illegal drug raids, many of them resisting arrest. Some local nongovernmental organizations and the national Commission on Human Rights have placed the death toll at more than 27,000.
“Should it proceed impartially, we are certain that its result will only lead to the humiliation of the investigators,” presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement. He added that “there never have been == nor will there ever be — state-sponsored killings in this part of the world.”
The council’s resolution “signals the start of accountability for thousands of drug war-related killings and other abuses, and will provide hope to countless survivors and families of victims,” Laila Matar, deputy Geneva director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “The challenge now is to ensure that the process moves quickly to compel the Philippine government to stop the killings and prosecute those responsible.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan