United Nations to probe Philippines drug war deaths

Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson

Government officials have condemned the recently approved resolution at the UN Human Rights Council which asks Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate killings and alleged rights abuses in the Philippines.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took a swipe at Iceland today for spearheading a UN resolution to investigate his bloody war on drugs, saying it was a nation made entirely of ice, with no understanding of his country's problems.

The Philippines rejected the United Nations resolution, saying it was "politically partisan and one-sided". '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 said. The resolution also urged the Philippine government to co-operate with the United Nations by facilitating country visits and 'refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.

The resolution, which passed by a narrow margin, mandates a comprehensive written report into the human rights situation in the country.

"We are fortunate enough to enjoy human rights in Iceland, which we take for granted", Thordarson later said in an interview with mbl.is, an Icelandic news organization.

The resolution comes amid calls from global 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.

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Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin said his country won't accept the resolution. 'Thus, the Philippines rejects this resolution, he added.

"[It] 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 Amnesty's regional director for east and southeast Asia, Nicholas Bequelin, in a statement.

In March, the Philippines withdrew from the International Criminal Court, which is examining Duterte's anti-drug campaign. Other efforts domestically, regionally and internationally will likewise move forward, the aggregate of which will hopefully bring out the changes in policy and in leadership that prioritizes human and people's rights.

Filipino activists have claimed that about 27,000 people have been killed as police terrorize poor communities, using cursory drug "watch lists" to identify users or dealers.

Last month, a three-year-old girl became one of the youngest victims of the war on drugs, after she was shot dead in a raid near Manila. There will be consequences: far-reaching ones. Police said she had been used as a human shield by her father, but the family disputes this. "As long as they are job-related, they're on me", he said.

"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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