Philippines included in UN âlist of shameâ for refusing to condemn Iran rights abuses
In this September 21, 2017 photo, an activist shouts slogans during a protest against President Rodrigo Duterte near Malacañan in Manila.
AFP/Noel Celis
Philippines included in UN ‘list of shame’ for refusing to condemn Iran rights abuses
( - November 22, 2020 - 8:25am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:24 p.m.) — The Philippines was included in the "list of shame" of Geneva-based United Nations (UN) Watch after the country’s representative to the intergovernmental organization at the UN General Assembly voted against a draft resolution that sought to condemn Iran's administration for its alleged human rights abuses. 

Manila was among the 32 states that voted against the condemnation of Iran's human rights abuses, including Asia neighbors China, India and North Korea.

UN Watch is a non-governmental organization "monitors the UN by the yardstick of its own charter and, influences decision-makers, educates world opinion and promotes UN reform, transparency and accountability," according to its website.

In a statement published earlier this week, the United Nations said that a draft resolution—crafted by the UN's Third Committee focusing on social, humanitarian, and cultural issues—would express "serious concern at the alarmingly high frequency of death penalty imposition, particularly against minors." 

"It would call on Iran to ensure that no one is subjected to torture — or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment — and to end the widespread and systematic use of arbitrary arrests and detention, including the practice of enforced disappearance," the statement added. 

According to the UN, the representative of the Philippines disassociated from paragraphs referring to the International Criminal Court, pointing to the country's withdrawal from the Rome Statute, or the international treaty that created the ICC, in March 2019.

“As our courts are fully functioning, we do not accept the International Criminal Court as a substitute,” foreign affairs deputy Enrique Manalo is quoted as saying in the UN statement, though the Rome Statute itself already notes that states themselves have the first responsibility and right to address atrocity crimes.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself has not had the warmest ties with the Geneva-based international organization, often cursing it over its outspoken criticism of the administration's flagship war on drugs. 

In countless public statements and addresses, the chief executive slammed the UN as a "useless" body and even threatened its special rapporteurs with violence.

Official police data acknowledges some 8,000 deaths that occurred in official police operations, though rights organizations and activists say the anti-narcotics campaign has claimed as much as 30,000 lives.   

A report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published earlier condemned the Philippine government for what it said was widespread human rights violations in the name of national security and the fight against drug trafficking.

The Palace has since rejected the conclusions reached in the report and continues to claim that the Duterte administration respects human rights.

The Philippines was earlier included in a UN list of countries the organization said carried out the “shameful practice” of harsh reprisals and intimidation against human rights defenders and activists. — Franco Luna 

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