Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte to address UN General Assembly as ICC drug war probe begins

Jodesz Gavilan
Duterte to address UN General Assembly as ICC drug war probe begins

SPEECH. President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the United Nations General Assembly’s 75th Session on September 22, 2020.

Manuel Elias/UN

Malacañang says President Rodrigo Duterte will 'advance Philippine positions on global issues of key concern'

President Rodrigo Duterte will again address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday, September 22, as his violent anti-drug campaign faces renewed scrutiny from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Malacañang on Sunday, September 19, confirmed Duterte’s upcoming speech at the 76th UNGA.

His speech will be between 4 am and 6 am on Wednesday, Manila time.

“President Duterte will advance Philippine positions on global issues of key concern, such as universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, climate change, human rights, including the situation of migrant workers and refugees, and international and regional security developments,” the Palace said in a statement.

This is the second time Duterte will participate in the 193-member strong UNGA. He addressed the world’s most important diplomatic stage for the first time in September 2020. (SUMMARY: What Duterte said in his 1st UN General Assembly speech)

Duterte’s first speech in 2020 followed years of tirades against the UN – its attached bodies, officials, and experts – over their criticism of the drug war and other human rights abuses in the Philippines. He once threatened to withdraw from the UN. (READ: Duterte’s tirades, threats vs United Nations: ‘Useless’ to ‘sunugin ko pa iyan’)

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His second speech will come a week after the ICC announced on Wednesday, September 15, that the pre-trial chamber approved a full investigation into the widespread killings under Duterte’s war on drugs and the killings in Davao City from 2011 to 2016.

Among others, the pre-trial chamber said that killing became state policy in the Philippines and that the President himself encouraged deaths on the ground.

Government data show at least 6,181 suspected drug personalities have been killed in police operations as of July 31. Human rights groups estimate the deaths to be between 27,000 and 30,000, including victims of extrajudicial killings.

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet is expected to update the UN Human Rights Council in the first week of October about the implementation of “technical assistance” given to the Philippines through a resolution in July 2020.

The resolution, which fell short of launching a full probe into the killings in the country, was slammed by human rights groups and advocates. –

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.