The Philippines on Thursday rejected a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that will probe President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs and threatened “consequences” against those who supported it.
In a strongly-worded statement, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. called the resolution brought by Iceland a “travesty”
incited by “false information.”
“Western countries pushed for this resolution in the confidence that the world has forgotten what they did and what should have been done to them had there been a Human Rights Council. It was pushed with the arrogance that developing countries must not stand up to them even if we can and as we hereby do. There will be consequences,” Locsin said.
The resolution was adopted by a vote of 18 countries in favor, 14 against, and 15 abstentions at the 47-member forum in Geneva.
Since the resolution was not universally adopted, Locsin said its validity is “highly questionable.”
“It does not represent the will of the Council, much less that of the developing countries who are always the target of such resolutions,” he said.
Last June, 11 independent experts urged the UN Human Rights Council to launch an independent investigation into what they called a sharp deterioration in human rights across the Philippines due to “staggering number” of what they call violent and unlawful killings of drug suspects.
Authorities report that more than 5,000 ‘drug personalities’ have been killed in police operations around the country, but local and international human rights groups said the figures could be higher.
The UN experts also decried attacks on Duterte’s critics and human rights advocates.
Locsin pointed out that it is the right of a sovereign state to protect its citizens against crime.
“The Philippines renews its solemn responsibility to protect the law-abiding against the lawless by any means efficient to achieve the defining purpose for the existence and expense of a state. To that responsibility, my President has made an iron, unwavering and total commitment; and it will not be weakened by this ill-fated resolution,” Locsin said.
He also criticized those who voted in favor of the Iceland-backed text for threatening states with accountability for a tough approach to crushing crime when some of them “are complicit at worst and tolerant at best.”
“You don’t have the wherewithal, so all you can do is insult. The United Nations is a collection of sovereignties and not a sovereign collective,” Locsin said.
“Thus, the Philippines rejects this resolution. It cannot, in good conscience, abide by it. We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution, so detached from the truth on the ground.”
He also said the resolution on the Philippines was “incited by false information from sources peddling their untruths for money, or who have allowed themselves to be played by the ill will of a few.”
“This resolution is not a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them that should honor the character of the author and co-sponsors of the resolution.”
Even as it defied the resolution, Locsin said the Philippines, which is a member of the Council, will continue its work “to advance a noble mandate to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, and rescue it from its misuse.”
While praising “true friends who have stood by us in this farce,” Locsin warned that the Philippines “will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith.”
“There will be consequences; far-reaching ones,” he said.