In getting back at the world body for painting a bleak picture of the human rights situation in the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. warned that the effectiveness of the UN hinges on cooperation of its members.
File
DFA chief hits UN over human rights
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - June 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ top diplomat hit back at the United Nations, saying it should not threaten states with accountability for taking a tough approach to dealing with crime.

In getting back at the world body for painting a bleak picture of the human rights situation in the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. warned that the effectiveness of the UN hinges on cooperation of its members.

UN human rights experts earlier called for an independent investigation on the “staggering number” of unlawful deaths and police killings linked to the authorities’ self-declared “war on drugs” in the country.

But the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) rejected this call, branding it as an act of “bad faith” to undermine domestic processes.

Locsin took the opportunity to make a strong statement to the UN during the diplomatic reception for the 121st anniversary of Philippine Independence on June 14, which he led in New York. The secretary flew from Geneva, Switzerland.

“If the UN is to endure, it must remember that it is a collection of sovereignties but not itself a sovereign collective. It is only as effective as members cooperate to make it so. And it should not presume to threaten states with accountability for taking a tough approach to crushing crime,” Locsin said in his speech.

He added that: “Now that the United Nations is under siege from rising protectionist sentiments and hostility to multilateralism, it becomes more imperative to respect the sovereign principle; one can work with it or even around it but never against it. That undermines the international order; as we have seen when states are made to fail by multilateral action.”

The secretary gave assurance that human rights would by all means be protected and the Philippines, in the exercise of sovereignty, has a solemn responsibility to protect the law-abiding against the lawless.

Locsin said the Philippines, a founding member of the UN, has always believed that the UN’s work must reflect the realities and aspirations of “we the people,” pointedly not the member states of the UN because “only then can it continue to remain relevant and effective.”

“It is true that much harm is done to people by states, even their own — though nowhere near as much as non-state actors have inflicted as we have seen. But only states have the wherewithal to protect people — their own and in extreme cases those of other states. But never unilaterally by the United Nations,” Locsin said.

Membership in the UN, he said, is an act of sovereignty, “for sovereignty is as much a duty of care as it is an assertion of unlimited freedom of action.”

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS HUMAN RIGHTS UNITED NATIONS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with