Duterte critics laud United Nations vote to scrutinize drug killings

Duterte also renewed his pledge to protect authorities enforcing his bloody drugs crackdown as a UN rights probe gets underway

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday narrowly passed a resolution spearheaded by Iceland which gives UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet a year to conduct a "comprehensive" global review of the campaign, a centrepiece of Mr Duterte's presidency.

The UN will open an investigation into the growing number of killings in the Philippines, including those due to the violent anti-drug campaign launched by the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippines ambassador Evan Garcia, speaking after the vote, read a statement by his foreign ministry rejecting the resolution as "politically-partisan and one-sided".

"This resolution does not represent a triumph of human rights but a travesty of them", he added. The resolution called for Philippine government cooperation, "including by facilitating country visits and preventing and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation".

"Before the UN (United Nations), US and western countries investigate [the] 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", Sotto said in a viber message to reporters on Friday.

In the run-up to Thursday's vote, Philippine diplomats lobbied fiercely to dissuade council members from supporting what they considered to be a hostile resolution.

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Filipino activists say tens of thousands are being killed as police terrorise poor communities, using the cursory drug "watch lists" to identify suspected users or dealers, and executing many of them under the guise of sting operations.

Since the resolution wasn't universally adopted, it is questionable and the Philippines' foreign policy is "friend to friends, enemy to enemies and a worse enemy to false friends", he said in a veiled warning to the nations that voted in favor of the resolution. He has separately called both President Barack Obama and Pope Francis "son of a whore" and told a United Nations human rights expert to "go to hell".

The exact number of deaths in Duterte's violent war on drugs can not be verified, but at least 6,000 have died since he launched the campaign upon taking office in mid-2016, in operations the police said suspects were armed and fought back. "The resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow and maliciously partisan".

Myca Ulpina, a 3-year-old killed on June 29 near Manila, was among the latest and youngest known victims. "There will be consequences, far-reaching consequences".

The vote came against the backdrop of renewed global scrutiny of Duterte's war on drugs, which three years on has remained as violent as ever. "As long as they are job-related, they're on me", he said. Police say her father Renato had used her as a human shield. Human Rights Watch said more than 12,000 people have died.

"Should it proceed impartially, we are certain that its result will only lead to the humiliation of the investigators", presidential spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.

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