MANILA - Thirty-nine member-states of the United Nations have expressed serious concern over alleged extra-judicial killings ocurring amid the Duterte administration's drug war.
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) on Thursday said the member-states urged the Philippines to probe the killings and protect human rights defenders through a joint statement issued by Iceland.
The member-states urged the Philippines to "cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with the universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law."
The Philippines did not fully accept more than half of the recommendations it received during the 36th session of its Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Forum-Asia reiterated Human Rights Watch's call for the U.N. Human Rights Council to step in and end the violent drug war if the Philippines will not comply with its international human rights responsibilities.
"If the situation in the country does not improve, the UN Human Rights Council must pass a resolution at its next session in March, establishing an international, independent investigation into killings associated with the 'war on drugs'," Forum-Asia executive director John Samuel said.
The following countries signed the joint statement: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, Ukraine, and United States.
During the UN General Assembly, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano insisted that the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs does not violate human rights and does not tolerate abuse of cops.
"The Philippines’ comprehensive campaign against illegal drugs is a necessary instrument to preserve and protect human rights of all Filipinos. It is never an instrument to violate any individuals' or groups' human rights," he said.
Latest police estimates placed the number of drug suspects slain in legitimate police operations at 3,800.
The Duterte administration has repeatedly denied that extrajudicial killings are state-sponsored.--Report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News