UN council backs probe into human rights situation in the Philippines

United Nations Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN picture via Twitter.

A United Nations council has adopted a resolution calling for a probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines, including drug war killings.

During a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today (Thursday, July 11), 18 of the 47 members states voted in favour of the draft resolution filed by Iceland. 

It calls on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “to prepare a comprehensive written report” on the country.

Fourteen country representatives voted against the move and 15 abstained.

The draft resolution called on the Philippine government to “take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances” and to conduct “impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards including due process and the rule of law”.

It likewise recalled the “repeated expressions of concern” coming from Ms Bachelet and others about the human rights situation in the Philippines.

As to be expected, the resolution has not gone down well with the Malacañang.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that any UN investigation on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs would interfere with Philippine sovereignty.

“We already made our stand,” he said last week.

“Any move that will interfere with the sovereignty of this country, the management of this country by a sitting President elected overwhelmingly by the people, to our mind is an interference with our sovereignty.”

He also said that those who “initiated” the resolution were “believing in the false news, false information.”

However, Vice President Leni Robredo has criticised the administration’s response to the resolution.

“If you’re being accused of something that’s not true, human nature dictates that you prove that the accusation is not true,” she said.

“In this case, we are being accused. Instead of us showing that the accusation is not true, we are saying: ‘Don’t meddle with us’.” 

Aside from Iceland, the countries supporting the resolution were Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK.

Countries voting against included the Philippines, China, Cuba, Iraq and Somalia.

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