United Nations to launch probe into Philippine drugs war

United Nations to launch probe into Philippine drugs war

United Nations to launch probe into Philippine drugs war

Salvador Panelo, who is also Duterte's chief legal counsel, made the remarks in explaining a speech given by the president on Monday in which he called on Filipino politicians to revise the constitution to protect his leadership from the military, The Manila Times reported.

The Philippines delegation lobbied hard against the resolution, which asks national authorities to prevent extrajudicial killings and cooperate with United Nations human rights boss Michelle Bachelet, who is to report her findings in June 2020.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a slight shift from his previous combative stance, on Thursday said he may consider allowing the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the human rights situation in the country.

Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr, tweeted: "such resolutions especially those passed by a tiny minority can and will be ignored".

"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 told the briefing.

Since 2016, thousands of drug dealers and users have been killed in a police crackdown. Other estimates by local nongovernmental organizations and the national Commission on Human Rights place the death toll of the "drug war" at more than 27,000.

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It stresses that "the right to life must be respected and protected by all law enforcement agencies in their efforts to address drug-related crimes", calling for "fair trials and due process".

"The Human Rights Council resolution on the Philippines is a modest but vital measure", said Laila Matar, deputy Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. 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.

Fourteen countries voted against the call, including the Philippines, while 15 abstained.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has "very reliable" information that there is a genuine risk of a military coup to oust him from power, according to his spokesperson, and that he could use martial law or the declaration of a revolutionary government to solve the country's problems.

Amnesty, which in a new report earlier this week revealed that extrajudicial killings remained rampant, called the decision "a crucial step towards justice and accountability."

"The reality is that (the) Philippines government has sealed off all avenues for domestic accountability", Amnesty's regional director for east and southeast Asia, Nicholas Bequelin, said in a statement.

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