Philippines drugs war: United Nations votes to investigate killings


On Thursday, the 47-member states of the UNHRC voted in Geneva to adopt a resolution which calls for a preliminary investigation to assess the human rights situation in the Philippines amid the government's crackdown on illegal drugs.

The said resolution urged the Philippine government 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 global norms and standards including on due process and the rule of law; and to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including by facilitating country visits and preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.

Police in the Philippines say they have killed about 6,600 people in a harsh anti-drug campaign launched by President Rodrigo Duterte in the three years since he took office.

The Philippines immediately rejected the resolution.

"This resolution does not represent a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them", he added.

The resolution also called on the Philippines "take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable".

Iceland joined the Human Rights Council past year after the Trump administration said the United States would leave the body, which resulted in an open seat.

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

Should the UNHRC ask for drug war data from the PNP, Albayalde noted that the PNP will only provide them documents if the "higher authorities" tell them to do so.

The resolution requires the United Nations human rights chief to report on the situation in a year.

The Vietnamese delegation offered constructive feedback at sessions to build draft resolutions and co-sponsored five other resolutions.

"But we will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith", he said.

Filipino activists say tens of thousands are being killed as police terrorise poor communities, using the cursory drug "watch lists" to identify suspected users or dealers, and executing many of them under the guise of sting operations.

Last week, a three-year-old girl became one of the crackdown's youngest victims after she was shot dead in a drugs raid. According to media reports and human rights activists, number of victims is between 27,000 and 30,000, counting the murders committed by vigilantes. Police say her father Renato had used her as a human shield. There will be consequences: far-reaching ones. "Let them state their objective and I will review, he told reporters Thursday, CNN Philippines reported".

Laila Matar of New York-based Human Rights Watch criticized his comments.

The vote came against the backdrop of renewed global scrutiny of Duterte's war on drugs, which three years on has remained as violent as ever.