Friday, September 23, 2016

UN vows review of Philippines human rights situation by end of September

The United Nations announced on Friday that it will review the situation of human rights in the Philippines at the end of this month, a day after the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte challenged the UN to investigate his violent campaign against drugs.

The 18 independent human rights experts from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) will meet with the Philippine delegation on Sept. 28 and 29 in Geneva, according to the committee's statement on its official website.

"The Philippines is one of the 164 States that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and so is required to undergo regular review by the Committee", said the statement.

The committee intends to publish the conclusions on the human rights situation in the Philippines on Oct. 10, since some 3,500 people have died in the crackdown against drug trafficking pushed forward by Duterte since June.

The campaign has received numerous criticisms, including from the UN and the European Union. The Philippine president on Thursday night dared the international bodies to visit the country and investigate the deaths.

"Send your best lawyers," Duterte said, adding that he would "take on them, one by one, in an open forum... then all of you can watch how I trample on them."

In recent weeks, Duterte has openly criticized the UN and the EU, describing the UN as a "useless" organization and threatening to withdraw from the organization.

The Philippine president has also refused to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Duterte won May 9, 2016 presidential elections on a promise to end widespread drugs proliferation in the first six months of his term. On numerous occasions, he has urged the police and citizens to kill drug dealers and drug users.

According to the latest figures released by the police, some 3,500 suspected drug dealers and drug users have been killed in Duterte's drug war - about 1,500 by the police and the rest by shadowy so-called "vigilantes".


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