The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted an Iceland-proposed resolution to probe deaths related to President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
At least 18 member-states backed the resolution, while 14 opposed and 15 abstained.
Among those who voted to adopt the resolution were Peru and Uruguay. China and Bahrain voted against the measure while Pakistan and Japan abstained.
The resolution, which requests the UN human rights office to present a comprehensive report on human rights in the Philippines to thecouncil, was denounced by the Philippine government as a “divisive motion” and sought to block it.
“The Human Rights Council resolution on the Philippines is a modest but 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,” said Laila Matar, deputy Geneva director of Human Rights Watch.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. acknowledged the resolution is “enforceable” but said it will have “no effect.”
“Such resolutions, especially those passed by a tiny minority, can and will be ignored. No consequences,” Locsin said on his Twitter account.
“On the other hand, the initiative to insult the Philippines—with the assumption without proof that it commits gross abuses—there will be far-reaching consequences. For those who voted to insult us, the consequences will be far-reaching,” he added.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia described the adoption of the resolution as “an initial benchmark victory of sorts in the long and arduous search for justice.”
“This brings a ray of hope that sooner or later the rampant extrajuducial killings will stop and that impunity will eventually cease to reign,” Olalia said.
Earlier, the London-based human rights group Amnesty International urged the UN to launch a probe on the thousands of killings under the narcotics crackdown.
“What we believe is most important, in assessing the current situation, is the systematic nature of the violations,” Amnesty’s East Asia director Nicholas Bequelin said.
It said the targets are largely drawn from “drug watchlists” supplied by local officials who are “under immense pressure” from police to provide a steady stream of suspects.
Malacañang, however, criticized AI for “pursuing and advancing a baseless and false narrative” on the Duterte administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said AI’s claim that there were 27, 000 drug-related deaths is “one big lie and part of the false advocacies widely peddled by the President’s critics and detractors.”
Panelo likewise cautioned foreign countries from interfering in the country’s domestic affairs.
“Any attempt by any foreign country to interfere with how this government maintains its peace and order, not only is an affront to their intellect but an interference with the country’s sovereignty as well,” Panelo said.
“They keep on calling for an investigation ever since, but the fact remains that the basis for their call is factually wrong. They are saying that there have been murders in this country as if all those who were killed in the police operations have been intentionally slaughtered or killed by the policemen,” he added.