UN rights body to grill top Philip­pine of­fi­cial

New Straits Times - - World -

GENEVA: A top Philip­pine of­fi­cial is set to be ques­tioned next week at the United Na­tions Hu­man Rights Coun­cil on is­sues such as ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings and vig­i­lante jus­tice al­leged to be oc­cur­ring in Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s deadly fight against il­le­gal drugs.

The Philip­pines is one of 14 coun­tries whose records are be­ing ex­am­ined in the lat­est ses­sion of the Uni­ver­sal Pe­ri­odic Re­view, which ex­am­ines is­sues in all 193 UN mem­ber states. Bri­tain was on tap yes­ter­day and the Philip­pine anti-drug cam­paign and moves to re­store the death penalty are among the is­sues set for dis­cus­sion on Mon­day.

Me­nardo Gue­varra, a se­nior deputy ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary in Duterte’s of­fice, is lead­ing the del­e­ga­tion. Also par­tic­i­pat­ing is senator and staunch Duterte sup­porter Alan Peter Cayetano, who said “our strat­egy is sim­ple: The facts be­ing said about the cam­paign against drugs are wrong”.

Hu­man Rights Watch yes­ter­day called on the UN to de­nounce the Philip­pines’ “war on drugs” that it said had left more than 7,000 sus­pected drug deal­ers and users dead since Duterte took of­fice on June 30 and to urge the coun­try to sup­port an in­ter­na­tional in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the killings.

“The UN re­view of the Philip­pines is crit­i­cal be­cause of the sheer mag­ni­tude of the hu­man rights calamity since Duterte took of­fice last year,” said Phe­lim Kine, Hu­man Rights Watch deputy Asia di­rec­tor.

“Duterte’s war on drugs has been noth­ing less than a mur­der­ous war on the poor.”

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional Philip­pines said the re­view should high­light per­sist­ing prob­lems, in­clud­ing the high num­ber of ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions and moves to re­in­state the death penalty.

The gov­ern­ment is re­leas­ing new data in an at­tempt to re­fute death tolls rang­ing from more than 7,000 to 9,000 based on num­bers re­leased by po­lice.

Num­bers re­leased by the pres­i­den­tial palace, the Philip­pine na­tional po­lice and other agen­cies this week showed nearly 4,600 peo­ple have been killed in dru­gre­lated crime since July 1. AP

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