The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday narrowly approved a resolution mandating a ‘comprehensive’ international review of the Philippines drug war, which watchdogs say has killed more than 20,000 people.
The resolution had faced strong pushback from President Rodrigo Duterte’s government, which counters that the toll has been exaggerated — its estimates say 5,300 have died — and that the crackdown has the strong support of many Filipinos.
Duterte’s three year so-called drug war has unleashed a surge of bloodshed in the Asian nation, with reports of nightly slaying of suspects by police and masked gunmen.
Activists said they had initially hoped the UN resolution would call for a formal ‘inquiry,’ but compromised on a ‘report’ to win a majority.
The text, initially proposed by Iceland, secured the backing of 18 states in the 47-member rights council, with 14 nations voting against and 15 abstentions.
It calls on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to prepare a ‘comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines,’ over the coming year.
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