Human Rights

Chile Abstains from Voting on Resolution on Human Rights Violations in Philippines

SANTIAGO – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution that seeks to probe the killings in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. Eighteen out of the 47 voting countries backed the resolution. Chile however, abstained from voting.

Icelad proposed the resolution that asked former Chilean president and current UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet to investigate the killings during the President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs on the Philippines.

During the vote, a majority of eighteen countries backed the resolution, where fourteen countries voted against. Fifteen countries abstained from voting and among them was, surprisingly, Chile. Other countries that abstained were members like Brazil and Japan, but also Afghanistan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan.

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The Resolution

In the resolution, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urged the Duterte administration to cooperate with the UN bodies that seek to investigate the killings.

According to Al Jazeera, the resolution also urged 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.”

The War on Drugs in the Philippines

After Rodrigo Duterte came to power as president in the Philippines three years ago, he declared war on both drug dealers and drug users in the country. Policemen as well as citizens were urged to kill anyone who had a relation with drugs. Investigations showed that policemen planted evidence on bodies after performing executions. The government admits having killed over 6,000 people where independent organizations claim 12,000 assassinations.

Criticism in Chile

Chile’s abstention and the stance of the Chilean Foreign Ministry generated criticism in opposition sector. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz said he did not understand the decision not to vote, while Senator Ricardo Lagos Weber criticized “Chile’s lack of commitment towards human rights”.

The Foreign Ministry emphasized that they say they have confidence that the Philippines will cooperate with the UNCHR in regard to investigations on the human rights violations in the country.

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