After hinting at a possible withdrawal from the UNHRC in July in response to the adoption of the resolution, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines after all is staying in the council and will not sever relations with any country, including Iceland.
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Iceland resolution on drug deaths forgiven — Teddy Locsin
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Iceland-initiated resolution to monitor the drug war killings in the Philippines is “forgiven,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said yesterday.

“It was nothing anyway. As I always say, the French always do it better –love and war and anything in between. I’m gonna kiss the hull of that boat,” Locsin tweeted.

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted in July the Iceland resolution, which the Philippine government dismissed as a “tiny majority-approved and one-sided” resolution.

After hinting at a possible withdrawal from the UNHRC in July in response to the adoption of the resolution, Locsin said the Philippines after all is staying in the council and will not sever relations with any country, including Iceland.

French Ambassador Nicolas Galey said France’s co-sponsoring the Iceland resolution is not the “alpha and omega” of international relations and should not put in danger the friendship between the two countries.

In July, Locsin criticized France and other Western countries for supporting the Iceland resolution which also seeks a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Human rights officials have said the resolution did not call for an investigation.

No representative of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) showed up for the traditional diplomatic toast at the celebration of Bastille Day, the French National Day, on July 14 at the official residence of the French ambassador in Forbes Park, Makati.

Sources said the French embassy was informed by the DFA that no one from the DFA would be available for the Bastille Day celebration.

The unusual break with diplomatic tradition in this country was seen as a snub and a show of disapproval toward France for co-sponsoring the Iceland resolution before the UNHRC.

‘Poor nations get blame’

Meanwhile, in a speech at the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Day celebration yesterday at DFA, Locsin said poor nations get the blame for violence and unrest from the use of weapons sold by rich countries.

He said states that make and sell weapons should share with the “victims” the responsibility of keeping the spirit of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions alive.

“But in general, the problem is this: the weapons making and selling states are never blamed by international civil society because it is composed mostly of people who come from those states, and the selling states are so impregnable they need not resort to extraordinary measures of social control,” Locsin said.

“So the blame is persistently laid squarely on the weak countries of the victims whose governments are their customers,” he said.

According to Locsin, the commitment of the Philippine government to international humanitarian law is well-established in history “although this sterling record has been cast in the shade, and is today disparaged by those who are—either actually on the payroll of non-state actors or should be, for the great service they render to protect them and advance their interests.”

“Our own city of Marawi fell to one such group when it was attempted to serve a warrant on its leader for drug trafficking. It took our boys six months to take back Marawi in door to door fighting.,” Locsin said.

“It is silly to pretend those means are not used by the most advanced states whose civil societies denounce those means only when availed of by lesser states in desperation. On top of which, advanced states can apply unconventional means with more precision and therefore circumspection,” he added.

Also at the DFA event, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can be trusted to respect and uphold human rights and the International Humanitarian Law even in times of conflict or war.

“We assure the people that the defense department, through the AFP, will carry on, continue the conduct of capacity development mechanisms, and troop information and education programs on human rights and IHL at all levels of command. We continue to tap human rights and IHL in this pursuit,” Lorenzana said in a statement read for him by Undersecretary for defense policy Ricardo David Jr.

“This celebration reaffirms our commitment, most particularly that of the Philippine IHL Ad Hoc Committee members, in adhering to the internationally accepted norms or conduct on the rules of war giving special treatment or protection to those parties/sectors who are not involved in armed conflict,” Lorenzana’s message read.

“We ensure that all officers of the Armed Forces, at all levels and staff assignments, are to be held responsible for their acts and omissions in violations of human rights, IHL, and other relevant laws.” – With Michael Punongbayan

DRUG WAR ICELAND
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