MANILA - Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Friday said Western countries have no “moral high ground” to lecture the Philippines about human rights, after they approved a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution seeking a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the country.
During its 41st regular session in Geneva, Switzerland, the rights body voted to adopt the resolution filed by Iceland. Eighteen countries, mostly from Europe, voted in favor of the resolution, while 14, including China, voted against it. Fifteen others abstained.
Instead of discussing the merits of the resolution, Sotto instead lashed out at the Western countries for allowing abortion.
“Before the UN, US and western countries investigate so-called extra- judicial killings here, they should tell us how many hundreds of thousands of babies they abort who are about to be born. Ano yun, walang rights? They have no moral high ground to lecture us,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
The 18 countries which voted for the resolution are Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Peru, Mexico, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom including Northern Ireland, and Uruguay. The US is no longer part of the rights council following its withdrawal from the body last year.
But abortion is not legal in Bahamas, Peru, Mexico, and in parts of Australia.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL RESOLUTION
Aside from asking the High Commissioner to prepare a comprehensive report, the resolution also calls on the Philippine government to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council. This includes facilitating country visits and preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.
The resolution also urges the Philippine government to “take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable in accordance with international norms and standards, including on due process and the rule of law.”
It also expresses deep concern over allegations of threats, intimidation and personal attacks directed against special procedure mandate holders, including the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Vicki Tauli-Corpuz and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution Agnes Callamard.
The Philippines rejected the resolution, with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. warning of "consequences."
Rights groups have claimed that tens of thousands have died in the Philippine government's drug war. Police said the figure was just at over 6,000 from the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016 until the end of May.
Government has repeatedly denied involvement in summary killings, saying drug suspects slain in police operations had resisted arrest.