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United Nations rights council votes to probe Philippine drug killings

13 July 2019

Human rights campaigners and some Western politicians accuse the police of extrajudicial killings of dealers and drug users.

NGOs denounce that the police terrorize poor communities, using "checklists" to identify drug addicts or drug dealers with the help of informants, and then raid the homes of suspects. The country's ambassador in Geneva, Evan Garcia, said it "does not represent a triumph of human rights, but a travesty of them". Police say her father, Renato, had used his daughter as a human shield.

Vietnam accepted 241 out of 291 recommendations made by the council's members, including the completion of legal regulations, measures to protect civil, political, socio-economic and cultural rights, strengthening mechanisms to protect human rights and issues regarding migration, climate change, environment and sustainable development.

Human rights groups say there is a pattern of executions, planted evidence and falsified reports, and a state unwilling to investigate widespread allegations of systematic abuses by police during the three-year-old crackdown.

Sotto had earlier branded the resolution as "biased" and advised the Philippine government to disregard it.

The council stopped short of setting up a full commission of inquiry, but their pledge to produce a detailed report has been welcomed by human rights groups.

Eighteen states of the 47-member Human Rights Council on Thursday voted to adopt Iceland's resolution which requested United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to present a "comprehensive" report on the state of human rights in the Philippines. "It's just ice", Duterte said Friday in Manila, according to ABS-CBN News.

The resolution stopped short of setting up a full-fledged commission of inquiry but calls on the United Nations human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, to prepare a comprehensive report for delivery to the council in a year's time.

Duterte's spokesman, Salvador Panelo, questioned the validity of the resolution not backed by the majority of council members.

The Human Rights Council resolution underscores the outsized influence small countries can wield - in particular, the surprising role of Iceland, with fewer than 400,000 people.

Bastes said there have been thousands of testimonies on the killings related to the Duterte administration's war against illegal drugs. Since taking the seat left vacant when the United States withdrew from the council a year ago, Iceland has actively supported several contentious resolutions that many other nations have avoided for fear of retaliation by powerful states.

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, said that the future investigation will not prosper.

The resolution, which was mostly backed by countries from Europe, necessarily pushes the Philippine government to prevent more extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

"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.

United Nations rights council votes to probe Philippine drug killings