MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday, July 11, adopted a resolution which lays out several key actions against the rising killings in the Philippines, including those under President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
A total of 18 out of 47 member-countries backed the Iceland-proposed resolution which, among others, asked UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to write a comprehensive report on the situation in the Philippines and present it to the council. Fourteen countries opposed the resolution and 15 abstained.
The UNHRC also urged the government to cooperate with UN offices and mechanisms by facilitating country visits and "refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation."
The resolution also urged the Philippine government to "take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international norms and standards, including on due process and the rule of law."
The adopted resolution comes amid heightened tension between human rights groups and the Philippine government's delegation which, according to an Inquirer opinion piece by Human Rights Watch's Carlos Conde, accused Iceland and other countries of bullying.
Duterte's violent war on drugs has led to at least 6,000 suspected drug personalities killed in police operations, while human rights groups pegged the number to reach more than 20,000 to include those killed vigilante-style. (READ: The Impunity Series)
International and local groups, including opposition politicians, have called out the continuous killings and lack of justice and accountability for the deaths under Duterte. (READ: Duterte gov't allows 'drug war' deaths go unsolved)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra previously said that the Duterte administration is prepared to face any inquiry into its war on drugs "only upon necessity" – a view contrary to the general aversion of the President to international interference, as evident in his withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Asked to comment on Thursday, Guevarra said, "I will leave that matter to the Office of the President."
The ICC's Office of the Prosecutor is currently conducting a "preliminary examination" into the situation in the Philippines. – with a report from Lian Buan/Rappler.com
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.