PH rejects ‘politically partisan, one-sided’ Iceland-led resolution
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has rejected what it calls a “politically partisan and one-sided” resolution that would mandate the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to conduct a “comprehensive” review of the human rights situation in the country.
“The Philippines rejects this resolution. It cannot, in good conscience, abide by it,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a statement read by the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations Evan Garcia after the rights council agreed to adopt the Iceland-led text during its 41st session in Geneva on Thursday.
“We will not accept a politically partisan and one-sided resolution, so detached from the truth on the ground,” Locsin’s statement further read.
Eighteen out of the 47 member states of the UNHRC voted in favor of the resolution, 14 voted no while 15 nations abstained.
“We invoke the government’s great power – and therefore, commensurate responsibility – to protect human rights as multilateral bodies cannot. Foremost among those rights is the right to be protected from crime by the state,” he said.
“Do not presume to threaten states with accountability for a tough approach to crushing crime, at which some of your countries are complicit at worst and tolerant at best,” he further said. “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.”
The foreign affairs chief likewise argued that the resolution “was not universally adopted, making its validity 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.
He added that western countries had “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.”
More than two dozen other countries — mostly Western nations — backed the resolution, namely Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and Northern Ireland.
“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.
He also said that while the “temptation” to “walk away from all this” is “strong,” the Philippines will remain committed to remaining “true to the cause of human rights.”
“We will continue to work in the Council to advance a noble mandate to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, and rescue it from its misuse,” he said.
“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,” he added.
The UN draft resolution urges the Philippine government, which launched its brutal crackdown on illegal drugs under President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, to “take all measures to present extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.”
It also appeals to the government to “carry out impartial investigations and hold perpetrators accountable” and to show cooperation with the UNHRC and the High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who was called upon to prepare a report on the human rights situation in the Philippines and present it to the council’s session in June 2020. /ee
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