UN rights council adopts resolution on Philippines drug war killings

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
UN rights council adopts resolution on Philippines drug war killings
The mother views the coffin of her three-year-old baby Kateleen Myca Ulpina, killed during a sting operation conducted by the police, is seen during her wake in Rodriguez, Rizal, east of Manila on July 5, 2019.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines (Update 2, 7:37 p.m.) — The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to adopt a resolution mandating a "comprehensive" international review of the Philippine government's drug war. 

A total of 18 of the 47-member council voted in favor of the resolution tabled by Iceland during the 41st session of the UNHRC in Geneva Thursday. Fourteen member states—including China and Bahrain—voted against the resolution while 15 abstained. 



The two-page resolution requires UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to prepare a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines that will be presented to the council’s 44th session.

It also calls on 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 on due process and the rule of law.”

The resolution also urges the government to cooperate with UN agencies and mechanisms by facilitating country visits and preventing acts of intimidation or retaliation.

Days before the UN vote, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo decried any attempt by other countries to interfere in the way the Philippines maintains peace and order.

“To those foreign governments which have been misled by false news and untruthful narratives about the President’s war against illegal narcotics, we reiterate that drug-related deaths arising there from are neither state-initiated nor sponsored,” Panelo said last Friday. 

Figures from the Philippine National Police earlier released this month put the number of ‘drug personalities’ killed in law enforcement operations at 6,600. But some rights groups have estimates of as many as 27,000 killed.

‘Critical step toward accountability’ 

Human rights organizations hailed the adoption of the resolution, which they said is crucial for holding the Philippine government accountable for drug war killings and other abuses. 

“The Human Rights Council resolution on the Philippines is a modest but vital measure. It signals the start of accountability for thousands of ‘drug war’-related killings and other abuses, and will provide hope to countless survivors and families of victims,” Laila Matar, deputy Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. 

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay called the adoption of Iceland resolution a “decision on the side of justice.”

“This resolution will initiate the start of a close monitoring on the rights situation in the country. Other efforts domestically, regionally and internationally will likewise move forward, the aggregate of which will expectedly bring out the changes in policy and in leadership that prioritizes human and people’s rights,” Palabay said. 

She added: “Despite the government’s efforts to discredit and malign victims, their relatives, and human rights organizations, many countries have already expressed alarm on our situation.”

HRW’s Matar said the challenge now is to ensure the process moves quickly to compel the Philippine government to stop the killings and prosecute those responsible. 

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

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!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with