Duterte assures UN that review of the conduct of PH war on drugs underway


Posted at Sep 22 2021 06:20 AM

MANILA—A review of the conduct of the government's violent campaign against illegal drugs is underway, President Rodrigo Duterte assured the members of the United Nations.

In a recorded video addressing the UN General Assembly Wednesday, Duterte said the law applies to everyone, including law enforcers who could have acted "beyond bounds."

"The Filipino people want to live in peace and security in their homes and communities, free from harm and danger from the lawless. But achieving this goal has not been without challenges," he said.

"The law applies to all. I have instructed the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police to review the conduct of our campaign against illegal drugs. Those found to have acted beyond bounds shall be made accountable before our laws."

Duterte also mentioned the Philippine government's joint program with the UN on the issue of human rights, calling it a "a model for constructive engagement between a sovereign member state and the United Nations."

In July, the Philippines and the UN signed the first national-level UN joint program on human rights.

The joint program was developed to implement Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution 45/33, adopted on October 7, 2020, which outlined specific areas for cooperation and capacity-building to promote and protect domestic human rights.

Through the program, the UN in the Philippines will strengthen domestic investigation and accountability mechanisms; data-gathering on alleged police violations; civic space and engagement with civil society and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); national mechanism for reporting and follow-up; counter-terrorism legislation; and human rights-based approaches to drug control. 

Duterte's statement about his administration's campaign against illegal drugs came days after the International Criminal Court authorized a thorough investigation into the killings under his administration.

At least 6,181 people have died in more than 200,000 anti-drug operations conducted since July 2016, according to the latest official data released by the Philippines.

ICC prosecutors in court papers estimate the figure to be between 12,000 and 30,000 dead.

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute, a treaty negotiated within the UN. However, the court is an independent judicial body distinct from the United Nations. 
Duterte pulled Manila out of the Hague-based court in 2018 after it launched a preliminary probe, but the ICC said it had jurisdiction over crimes committed while the Philippines was still a member.

The President's aides said last week he would not cooperate with the investigation. 

Rights groups, lawyers and relatives of people killed in the drug war have welcomed the ICC probe.


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