What Killings? Duterte’s Top Diplomat Rejects UN Drug War Probe

Human rights advocates display placards during a news conference following the United Nations Human Rights Council's resolution in Geneva Friday

Human rights advocates display placards during a news conference following the United Nations Human Rights Council's resolution in Geneva Friday

Critics of the Philippine president's deadly anti-drug campaign said Friday that a vote by the U.N.'s top human rights body to look into the thousands of deaths of suspects is a crucial step toward bringing perpetrators to justice and helping end the killings.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has blasted Iceland over its sponsorship of a UN resolution demanding a comprehensive report on human rights situation in the Asian island nation, saying Reykjavik simply doesn't understand or have to deal with the kinds of problems he deals with, Philippine outlet Rappler has reported.

Duterte's government says police have killed about 6,600 people in shootouts with suspected drug dealers since he was elected in 2016 on a platform of crushing crime.

The deputy Geneva director for Human Rights Watch, Leila Matar, described the resolution as "a modest but vital" step that "signals the start of accountability for thousands of "drug war"-related killings".

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 resolution, which was mostly backed by countries from Europe, necessarily pushes the Philippine government to prevent more extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Duterte, a former prosecutor, has repeatedly lashed out at United Nations human rights experts critical of his anti-drug campaign.

When the International Criminal Court announced it was beginning a preliminary inquiry into the anti-drug campaign, Duterte ordered his officers not to cooperate using the colorful rhetorical style that has endeared him with voters.

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"The door of domestic investigation may have been shut, but the windows of worldwide scrutiny are beginning to open up toward justice for the Filipino people", said Sen. "The UN should not be fooled by the "study" of Duterte", he said.

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

The measure received the backing of 18 states in the 47-member rights council, with 14 nations voting against and 15 abstentions.

Locsin also said that the adoption of the resolution has "no effect as such resolutions, especially those passed by a tiny minority, can and will be ignored". "The resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow and maliciously biased", said Panelo last night.

When asked if UNHRC representatives will be allowed to investigate, Duterte gave a vague answer: "Let them state their goal, and I will..."

"I don't blame anyone but the man who killed my daughter", she said. He added that "there never have been == nor will there ever be - state-sponsored killings in this part of the world".

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday expressed "our solidarity with our true friends who have stood by us in this farce". "Let's show that we can solve the problem", Gordon said. "There will be consequences, far-reaching ones".

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