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Cayetano to UN: Allow Philippines to tackle its concerns

Cayetano told countries, especially those critical of the Philippine’s campaign against illegal drugs, to respect Philippine sovereignty and not tell it what to do

Gulf News

Manila: The Philippines asked the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to allow the country to manage on its own in tacking its domestic concerns as observers continue to heap criticism against the government’s war against drugs.

“The Philippines expects its sovereignty to be respected, and that its democratically-elected government’s assessment of threats and how to go about addressing them shall be accorded pre-eminence among nations — or at least the benefit of their doubt,” Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who represented President Rodrigo Duterte in the annual diplomatic event, on Saturday, said.

Cayetano told countries, especially those critical of the Philippine’s campaign against illegal drugs, to respect Philippine sovereignty and not tell it what to do.

The Secretary also cautioned other UN member-states against misinformation about its anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“Accusation before investigation is not proof. Nor is it fair. Abuses have occurred and mistakes have been made, tragic ones for sure. While one abuse is one too many, still the abuses are far less than the imaginary numbers of partisan accusers and publicity seekers,” Cayetano was pertaining to occasions when police overstepped its limits of authority and resorted to extrajudicial killings to make its jobs less difficult.

“We should never tolerate human rights abuses but neither should we tolerate misinformation, fake news on and politicisation of human rights, for these undermine our collective efforts as the United Nations to uphold the universality of human rights and dignity of human life,” he said.

Cayatano said the Philippine Government’s campaign against illegal drugs “is a necessary instrument to preserve and protect the human rights of all Filipinos and was never an instrument to violate human rights”.

He said Duterte’s aim when he unleashed his campaign last year “was to save lives, preserve families, protect communities and stop the country from sliding into a narco-state”.

The Philippines’ campaign against drugs has been hitting the headlines since last year; more recently, among the victims are minors.

Only a few policemen had been arrested with regards to links to drug killings. Yet on Friday, in Geneva, Switzerland, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the country’s Human Rights Report.

The 47-member body adopted the country’s Third Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report.

The Philippines on Saturday welcomed the final adoption of its human rights report card by the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it affirms Manila’s commitment to its human rights obligations.

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