UN okays probe of human rights situation in PH

President Rodrigo Duterte asks the International Criminal Court in a press conference on Friday night, 09 February 2018: “what is extrajudicial killing?” The ICC has announced it will conduct a “preliminary examination” into the alleged extrajudicial killings in relation to the “war on drugs” since July 1, 2016, Day One of the Duterte Administration. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 July) – The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted on July 11 a resolution calling for an investigation into thousands of killings attributed to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and other alleged abuses.

The 47-member UNHRC voted 18-14 in favor of the resolution initiated by Iceland. Fifteen member-states abstained.

Iceland’s resolution calls for a comprehensive, written report on the human rights situation in the Philippines to the council next June and on the government to cooperate with UN human rights mechanisms and experts.

The Philippine government had sought to block the resolution as a “divisive motion,” the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution,” Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin Jr. said.

“This resolution does not represent a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them,” he added. “There will be consequences.”

Laila Matar, HRW deputy Geneva director, said “the resolution on the Philippines is a modest but vital measure.”

“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,” she said.

“This vote provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines,” Amnesty International said in a statement. “It’s a crucial step towards justice and accountability.”

“The requested June 2020 report by the high commissioner for human rights and discussion by member states could form the basis for further action if the situation in the Philippines does not improve or those responsible for abuses go unpunished. Meanwhile, the council should monitor the Philippines closely and take urgent action as necessary,” HRW said.

Since Duterte took office in June 2016, Philippine police have said that they have killed over 6,600 people during anti-drug operations.

But activist groups and the Commission on Human Rights placed the death toll of the drug war at over 27,000. They said most of the fatalities were poor suspects.

A number of minors and children have also been killed in the crackdown.

Last week, a three-year old girl was shot dead in a raid. Police claimed her father used her as a human shield, but the family refuted this. (MindaNews)