United Nations drug war probe rejected by top Duterte diplomat

UN rights council votes to probe Philippine drug killings

During its 41st session in Geneva, 18 of the 47 member states of the council voted in favour of the resolution filed by Iceland, which formally asked United Nations rights chief Michelle Bachelet to come up with a comprehensive report on the situation in the Philippines.

'This is not just a step towards paying justice for the thousands of families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, but it is also a message that we collectively send out to those who have praised President (Rodrigo) Duterte, said Ellecer 'Budit Carlos of the Manila-based rights group iDefend.

The resolution requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to submit a report to the council on human rights in the Philippines by June next year. The country's ambassador in Geneva, Evan Garcia, said it "does not represent a triumph of human rights, but a travesty of them".

The resolution also urged the Philippine government to take up measures against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, conduct impartial investigations of human rights violations and hold those involved accountable.

Laila Matar, deputy Geneva director of Human Rights Watch, called the resolution a "modest but vital measure".

Lacson made the statement following the UNHRC's move to adopt a resolution that would allow the body to investigate the human rights situation in the country.

"This vote provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines and countless more Filipinos bravely challenging the Duterte administration's murderous 'war on drugs, '" said Nicholas Bequelin of Amnesty International.

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Since the resolution wasn't universally adopted, it is questionable and the Philippines' foreign policy is "friend to friends, enemy to enemies and a worse enemy to false friends", he said in a veiled warning to the nations that voted in favor of the resolution.

Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin said his country won't accept the resolution. "Ask the people, if I am the face of war, why did they make me win as a senator?"

The Philippine government says police have killed about 6,600 people in shootouts with suspected drug dealers since Duterte was elected in 2016 on a platform of crushing crime, but rights activists claim the toll is at least 27,000. "There will be consequences, far-reaching consequences".

Last week, a three-year-old girl became one of the crackdown's youngest victims after she was shot dead in a drugs raid.

President Duterte, on the other hand, said United Nations investigators should first state their objective and he will review if they will be allowed into the country. Police said they will investigate her killing, CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported.

"Should it proceed impartially, we are certain that its result will only lead to the humiliation of the investigators, as well as of Iceland and the 17 other nations supporting it, since there never have been - nor will there ever be - state-sponsored killings in this part of the world", Panelo said.

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