United Nations human rights body censures Philippines

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

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

The resolution on the Philippines, led by Iceland, was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday by a vote of 18 countries in favour and 14 against, with 15 abstentions.

"It was quite clear that they threatened consequences for those who had supported the resolution, which in turn makes us concerned for the many human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists on the ground", she told the briefing. Matar said, "It 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".

At the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Philippine delegates had lobbied furiously over the past week to try and prevent the resolution being passed and vehemently spoke out against its adoption on Thursday.

It also expresses deep concern over allegations of threats, intimidation and personal attacks directed against special procedure mandate holders, including the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Vicki Tauli-Corpuz and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution Agnes Callamard.

"After much striving in the global arena, Migrante worldwide joins other Human Rights groups in welcoming the adoption by the [UNHRC] of the resolution calling for a comprehensive report on the bloody human-rights record of the Duterte regime", the group said.

The Philippines rejected the resolution, with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. warning of "consequences".

"We urge the Philippines to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Office leading the investigation and take urgent measures to halt the brutal killings that have become the hallmark of the Duterte administration's campaign".

It said as a "constructive partner", it will be ready to assist the government in any "thorough, transparent, and independent investigations of all alleged violations of human rights in the country".

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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.

Duterte, asked by reporters in Manila whether he would allow United Nations rights officials access to investigate, said, "Let them state their goal and I will review it".

Philippines Ambassador Evan Garcia said the Duterte administration was committed to upholding justice, adding, "We will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith".

Duterte's spokesman, Salvador Panelo, questioned the validity of a resolution not backed by the majority of council members, saying Filipinos overwhelmingly backed the president's unique leadership and approach. "No consequences", Locsin said on Twitter. Therefore, its validity is highly questionable. If they do not, the Council may take further and more robust action.

"Western countries pushed for this resolution in the confidence that the world has forgotten what they did and what should have been done to them had there been a Human Rights Council".

"They don't understand the social, economic, political problems of the Philippines".

Rights groups have claimed that tens of thousands have died in the Philippine government's drug war.

Duterte denies that the instances of such killings are state-sponsored and insists that the harsh measures are necessary to curb powerful drug cartels.

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