U.N. adopts resolution to investigate Philippine drug war

July 11 (UPI) — The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Thursday to investigate the thousands of deaths connected to the Philippines’ ongoing war on drugs, attracting swift condemnation from the Duterte administration.

A total of 18 of the 47-member states voted in favor of the Iceland-proposed resolution with 14 voting against and 15 abstentions, the U.N. Human Rights Council Secretariat announced on Twitter.

The resolution calls for U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to complete a report on the situation in the Philippines in a year’s time and urges the Asian archipelago nation to “take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international norms and standards, including on due process and the rule of law.”

Teodoro Locsin, the Philippine foreign minister, condemned the resolution in a statement that was read in Geneva, saying it came “straight from the mouth of the queen in Alice in Wonderland.”

He said the Philippines rejects the “politically partisan and one-sided resolution so detached from the truth on the ground,” Rappler reported.

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.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he would consider allowing the investigation to proceed, CNN Philippines reported.

“Let them state their purpose and I will review,” he said.

The resolution comes amid calls from international human rights groups for the United Nations to take action over the thousands of people killed in extrajudicial executions with impunity in the name of fighting drugs.

“President’ Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ continues to be nothing but a large-scale murdering enterprise for which the poor continue to pay the highest price,” Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International regional director for East and Southeast Asia, said in a statement on Monday.

On Thursday, Amnesty International applauded the resolution’s adoption, saying it will provide hope for thousands of families grieving for the deaths of family members to this war on drugs.

“The Philippines has failed to hold those responsible to account at home,” Bequelin said. “The Human Rights Council solution sends a clear message that the international community will not look the other way as extrajudicial executions and other serious violations continue to be committed with impunity.”

Human Rights Watch’s deputy Geneva director Laila Matar said it was a modest yet 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,” Matar said in a statement.

Since Duterte took office in June 2016, an estimated 6,600 people have been killed by police during anti-drug operations, according to data presented last month in a command conference at the national police headquarters, Philippines’ ABS-CBN reported.

Human Rights Watch, however, estimates the number at 12,000 people killed.

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