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Senators nix withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

Senators warned against a possible Philippine withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), an idea that Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had floated, saying it could isolate the country.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said that withdrawing from the council wouldn’t stop the Philippines from eventually explaining why thousands were killed in the drug war, yet the drug problem had worsened.

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“We can run but we can’t hide,” Pangilinan said. “Sooner or later, we will have to explain, if not to the international community at the very least to ourselves and our citizens, why thousands have been killed and yet the drug menace has become worse while drug syndicates and Customs officials behind the smuggling of tons of “shabu” through the [Bureau of Customs] go unpunished,” he added.

PH isolating itself

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the Philippines might need the help of other countries later on, as he warned against the country possibly isolating itself.

“At the rate we’re withdrawing from the different UN bodies, it may be a matter of time when we will be left to our own devices,” Lacson said.

The Philippines would need other countries and international bodies later, he said.

“Being a developing country, we may need to knock on the doors of the community of nations sooner or later,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier withdrew from the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court which sought to probe his war on drugs.

Locsin floated the possibility of leaving the UNHRC after it adopted a resolution spearheaded by Iceland calling for an inquiry into the drug killings in the country.

But Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he would support whatever Locsin decided to do regarding the Philippines’ membership in the UNHRC.

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Malacañang said it would be up to President Duterte to decide if he would end diplomatic ties with Iceland or withdraw its membership from the UN Human Rights Council.

“In the ultimate analysis as the chief architect of the foreign policy of this country, then it’s the call of the President,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

This was after Sen. Imee Marcos urged the government to sever diplomatic ties with Iceland, which initiated the resolution approved by the UNHRC.

Diplomatic ties

The Palace said the government would consider all factors and decide what would be the best for Filipinos and the country.

The Philippines and Iceland began formal ties in February 1999.

On Friday, the President mocked Iceland for drafting the resolution.

Asked if the Philippines would consider ending diplomatic ties with the 17 countries that supported Iceland’s resolution, the Palace said: “Maybe we should take a serious look on our relationship with them.”

Aside from Iceland, the 17 nations which voted for the resolution were: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

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TAGS: drug war killings, Francis Pangilinan, Iceland resolution, Panfilo Lacson, Teodoro Locsin Jr., UN Human Rights Council
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