PH not following US withdrawal from UN rights body
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will not follow the United States' withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Malacañang said on Thursday, June 21.
"We’re not following suit if that's the question but the President has no reaction on what the Americans decided to do," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news briefing on Thursday.
The council is made of 47 member states, which are elected by the majority of members of the UN General Assembly through direct and secret ballot.
“The General Assembly takes into account the candidate States' contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard,” according to the council's website.
The Philippines' membership in the UNHRC expires this year. Under the rules, council members serve for a period of 3 years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
Malacañang would not directly comment on the US withdrawal but did admit that the decision of US President Donald Trump reflected Duterte's own views on the UN body.
"The latest decision of the US reflects a sentiment that the President himself has articulated and apparently we are not alone in this perception that there is bias in human rights groups," said Roque.
The UN and its officials have often been a subject of the Philippine leader's curse-laden tirades. Duterte has blasted the international group for "hypocrisy," echoing the remarks of US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley when she announced Washington's withdrawal from the rights body.
In October last year, Human Rights Watch warned that the Philippines could be kicked out of the UNHRC because of the continuing killings in Dutert's bloody campaign against illegal drugs. Duterte had dared the UNHRC to do just that.
Earlier this year, Duterte targeted UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, telling him to "shut up" and calling him "empty-headed" and a "son of a bitch."
The Philippine leader made the tirades after Zeid said Duterte needed "psychiatric evaluation" after launching verbal attacks against UN rapporteurs critical of his campaign against illegal drugs. – Rappler.com