Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Philippines asks UN to respect anti-illegal drug drive

The Philippines’ ambassador to the United Nations has called on the international body to respect President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs after UN officials expressed concerns about extrajudicial killings under the drive.

According to the Philippines national police, nearly 3,000 drug-related killings have been reported since Duterte assumed office June 30 -- with 1,490 of the deaths being under investigation as of Sept. 10 as authorities blame suspected vigilante groups.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday that Ambassador Cecilia Rebong told the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, in Geneva that Manila would never tolerate any extralegal or extrajudicial killings.

She stressed the government is fully aware that “killings outside legitimate police operations are considered criminal acts and are being investigated”.

The exchange came a day after al-Hussein criticized statements by Duterte while opening the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, saying they showed "striking lack of understanding of our human rights institutions and the principles which keep societies safe".

“Empowering police forces to shoot to kill any individual whom they claim to suspect of drug crimes, with or without evidence, undermines justice," he said.

He called on Manila to invite the UN's Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to the country...

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