Philippines backtracks on threats to leave UN over drugs campaign criticism | News | DW | 22.08.2016
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Philippines backtracks on threats to leave UN over drugs campaign criticism

The Philippines foreign minister has said his country "remains committed" to the UN. The statement follows threats from President Rodrigo Duterte that the Philippines could quit the UN over criticism of his war on drugs.

Philippines' foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay Jr. said on Monday that the island country "remains committed" to the UN.

The statement from the finance minister marked a u-turn in the country's stance towards the agency, after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened a day earlier to leave the UN.

"I do not want to insult you, but maybe we'll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations," Rodrigo Duterte said during a profanity-laden press conference in Davao on Sunday.

The president made the comments after two of the agency's human rights experts released a statement last week calling for the Philippine government "to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings" in Duterte's campaign against drugs.

Asked about the possible consequences of his comments on Sunday, Duterte said: "I don't (care) about them. They are the ones interfering."

Making no mention of the international body's poverty reduction programs and natural disaster relief efforts following typhoons that hit the archipelago nation, Duterte said the president said the UN had done nothing for the Philippines.

"You do not just go out and give a... statement against a country," Duterte said, pointing to the persistence of hunger and terrorism as examples of the UN's failures.

In a statement last week, the UN's special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, said "claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings."

Duterte previously called for people in Philippine slums to kill neighbors who were suspected of being drug addicts - a line which his aides said was never intended to be taken literally.

According to Philippine police, the number of drug-related killings has doubled to around 1,800 since Duterte's election in May.

Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said on Monday that 712 drug traffickers and users had been killed during police operations. Police were also investigating 1,067 drug-related killings outside police work, Dela Rosa said.

ksb/rc (Reuters, EFE)

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