UN Launches Probe on Philippines Drug War Deaths

Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson

Iceland took the lead on a series of statements of concern on the Philippine drug war, supported an investigation into abuses in the civil war in Yemen, backed calls for an global inquiry into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi by agents of Saudi Arabia, and this week joined a statement critical of China's treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang province. Earlier this year, the president said he was prepared to "face a firing squad" to eradicate the drug problem.

His mother is struggling to accept the police version of events, but is too scared and too poor to challenge it. It's believed that she could be the youngest victim of the drug war.

The UN Human Rights Council voted on Thursday to set up an investigation into mass killings during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called war on drugs, a step activists said was long overdue.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. released a statement on the Department of Foreign Affairs website wherein he rejected the result as well, calling it "a politically partisan and one-sided resolution".

"We are fortunate enough to enjoy human rights in Iceland, which we take for granted", Thordarson later said in an interview with mbl.is, an Icelandic news organization.

Carlos Conde, Philippine researcher for the Human Rights Watch Asia division, meanwhile defended the resolution as an attempt to put to rest issues surrounding the country's human rights situation.

"There's now a platform for alternative voices..."

In 2018, New York-based Human Rights Watch reported that more than 12,000 drug suspects have been killed the year before.

The investigation is being welcomed by victims, including Emily Soriano, whose 15-year-old son, Angelito, was among seven people killed in a house by masked men looking for a suspected drug dealer.

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"But we will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith", he said.

"For now, I just hope the killings will stop".

Panelo, however, denounced this decision and the resolution itself for allegedly being "partisan" and invalid while providing scant evidence for his observations. "The UN should not be fooled by the "study" of Duterte", he said.

Duterte's view of Iceland is not fully accurate.

The resolution had faced strong pushback from President Rodrigo Duterte's government, which counters that the toll has been exaggerated its estimates say 5,300 have died and that the crackdown has the strong support of many Filipinos. The authorities deny any involvement. Police said she had been used as a human shield by her father, but the family disputes this.

"I have never seen a countercampaign of the level of this one by the Philippines", Matar said.

In a statement Amnesty International's Nicholas Bequelin said the United Nations resolution "provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines, and countless more Filipinos bravely challenging the Duterte administration's murderous "war on drugs". The resolution was adopted by the body on Thursday, with 18 of the 47 member-countries backing the measure.

Ronald dela Rosa, an outspoken senator and Duterte's top commander in the bloodiest chapter of the war on drugs, said investigators were welcome because allegations of extrajudicial executions and state-backed killings were nonsense.

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