United Nations rights council to investigate killings in Philippine drug war

Sotto: Show number of abortion cases before probing PH for killings

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday narrowly approved a resolution mandating a "comprehensive" global review of the Philippines drug war, which watchdogs say has killed more than 20,000 people.

A total of 18 of the 47-member states voted in favor of the Iceland-proposed resolution with 14 voting against and 15 abstentions, the U.N. Human Rights Council Secretariat announced on Twitter.

'This is not just a step towards paying justice for the thousands of families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, but it is also a message that we collectively send out to those who have praised President (Rodrigo) Duterte, said Ellecer 'Budit Carlos of the Manila-based rights group iDefend.

Duterte is scheduled to deliver his annual state of the nation address later this month, so the resolution "comes at a most pressing and opportune time", said Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of a Philippine human rights group, Karapatan. It also calls on the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings.

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

On Friday, Sen. Leila del Lima, a former rights commissioner and Duterte political rival who is in jail for what she claims are false charges related to drug trafficking, said the government was normalizing deaths carried out in the name of the drug war. An independent investigation into reported human rights violations in line with the government's anti-narcotics campaign and its counterinsurgency program is long overdue.

Locsin Jr. rejected the resolution that he said "does not represent the will of the council, much less that of the developing countries who are always the target of such resolutions".

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The Philippine delegation lobbied against the resolution.

Since then at least 6,600 dealers or users have been killed, according to police, but activists say more than 27,000 people have died.

"We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution", the ambassador added. There will be consequences: far-reaching ones.

"This vote 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 Nicholas Bequelin of Amnesty International.

Myca Ulpina, a 3-year-old killed on June 29 near Manila, was among the latest and youngest known victims of the crackdown.

Human Rights Watch's deputy Geneva director Laila Matar said it was a modest yet vital measure. Duterte, asked by reporters in Manila whether he would allow access to United Nations officials to investigate, said: 'Let them state their objective and I will review it. "Police reportedly accused him of using the girl as a shield, which her mother denied".

"Should it proceed impartially, we are certain that its result will only lead to the humiliation of the investigators", presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.

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