U.N. launches investigation into Philippines drug war deaths

12 July 2019
2019-07-12 13:21

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted on Thursday to set up an investigation into thousands of killings in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called 'war on drugs'. Duterte's government says around 6,600 people have been killed by police in shootouts with suspected drug dealers since Duterte was elected in 2016, on a platform of crushing crime. Activists say the death toll is at least 27,000.

ICELAND AMBASSADOR, HARALD ASPELUND said "In this council session, the High Commissioner Bachelet noted the extraordinary high number of reporterd deaths and persistent reports of extrajudicial killings in the context of the campaign against drug use. In the past three years, Special Rapporteur mandate-holders have issued 33 statements on the Philippines, 33. Most recently, 11 Special Rapporteurs jointly called for an independent investigation into the Human Rights violations in the Philippines, citing a sharp deterioration in the situation across the country."

A resolution, led by Iceland, was adopted at the forum in Geneva by a vote of 18 countries in favor and 14 against, including China, with 15 abstentions, including Japan. The Philippines delegation lobbied against the resolution, which asks national authorities to prevent extrajudicial killings and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to report back on her findings in a year.

PHILIPPINES AMBASSADOR, EVAN GARCIA said "The temptation is strong to walk away from all this, with well-deserved contempt for the minority of countries that have the least moral standing to raise their false issues to the discredit of the Human Rights Council...But the Philippines remains true to the cause of human rights. We will continue to work with Council to advance a noble mandate to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and rescue it from misuse."

Duterte, asked by reporters in Manila whether he would allow access to U.N. rights officials to investigate and replied that let them state their purpose and he will review it.

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