On Twitter, Locsin yesterday questioned Western commitment if it continues to insult the country’s human rights record and policies.
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‘US European allies dead set on insulting Philippines in UN’
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United States’ allies in Europe are “dead set” on insulting the Philippines in the United Nations, raising doubts over Western commitment to help defend the country’s sovereignty, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

On Twitter, Locsin yesterday questioned Western commitment if it continues to insult the country’s human rights record and policies.

“China to boost Pacific military presence,” Locsin tweeted as he shared a news article, adding that America’s European allies “are dead set on insulting the Philippines in Geneva.”

He also asked how seriously the Philippines should take Western commitment to the nation’s sovereignty.

Iceland filed last week a draft resolution, backed by mainly European states, calling for a UN investigation into thousands of killings in President Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

The text urges the government to prevent extrajudicial executions and marks the first time that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has been asked to address the crisis.

UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution Agnes Callamard said the UNHRC must adopt the Iceland-initiated resolution and set up a commission on inquiry to review the human rights situation, noting that it is the “right” thing to do for the Philippines.

Several local human rights advocate groups yesterday expressed confidence that the 47-member UNHRC would approve a draft resolution filed by Iceland calling for the council to investigate the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

“May laban tayo (We have a fighting chance). From our conversations with the (UN) missions and from the feedback that we have been receiving from the capitals of various countries, they strongly support the resolution,” Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said at a press conference in Quezon City.

“This (independent investigation) is long overdue. This is the way for the UNHRC to prove itself to the world,” Palabay added.

The UNHRC member-states, including the Philippines, are set to vote today on the draft resolution filed by Iceland on July 4 calling for a probe on the human rights condition in the Philippines, particularly on issues of extrajudicial killings in connection with the war on drugs, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention as well as the supposed intimidation or persecution of members of civil society and religious groups, human rights defenders, indigenous people, journalists, lawyers and members of political opposition.

The voting, which will be held at the UNHRC headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is expected to commence at around 6 p.m. today (Philippine time) until Friday morning.

National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre Olalia said there were already 28 UN member-states who have expressed support for Iceland’s draft resolution. He, however, admitted that not all those 28 countries are members of the UNHRC.

Olalia slammed the Duterte administration for continuously invoking the non-intervention of other states in the country’s internal affairs.

“The administration is always saying that our justice system is working. If the justice system is working in the Philippines, then shouldn’t that be in your interest to invite these people to come over?” he said.

Nonetheless, the NUPL is confident that the Iceland resolution will be approved by UNHRC, according to Olalia.

“May laban tayo (We have a fighting chance). But we don’t want to be overconfident, because we cannot underestimate the lengths that this administration can go to. They (government officials) can dangle trade relations issues with the member-states,” he said. – Elizabeth Marcelo

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