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PALACE SLAMS U.N. FOR  'SEEMING INCOMPREHENSION' OF PHL DRUG PROBLEM


AUGUST 19 -Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC
Malacañang on Friday accused the United Nations (UN) and other international observers of “incomprehension” as they criticize President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. “What is more alarming than the pandemic use and trade of illegal drugs in the Philippines is the seeming incomprehension by local and international observers,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said. Abella’s statement was released a day after UN rapporteurs criticized Duterte for allowing summary killings to proliferate under his watch. READ: UN rapporteurs air concern over PH drug killings Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, said illegal drug trafficking should be decided by courts “not by gunmen on the streets.” “We call on the Philippine authorities to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” Callamard said in a statement. Dainius Puras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, also said the drug issue should be treated as a public health issue and actions against the illegal trade should be carried out in full compliance with the Philippines’ human rights obligations. Puras and Callamard said Duterte’s public condemnation of the vigilante killings “is not enough.” On the other hand, Abella pointed out that there is a rise in “narco-politicians” who buy votes using money earned from the illegal drug trade. READ MORE...

ALSO: UN steps up war of words with Rody


AUGUST 20 -SCREENGRAB: Duterte not committing any crime—Palace spokesmen But the presidential spokesmen said Duterte committed no crime. The President’s chief legal counsel hit back at the UN, calling the UN claims “reckless and baseless.” More than 1,500 people have died in Duterte’s fight against narcotics, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa told a Senate hearing, saying that 665 drug suspects were killed in “legitimate (police) operations” with another 889 were killed by vigilantes. “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,” the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard said in a statement. The warning came a day after President Duterte, who swept to a landslide election victory in May largely on a pledge to kill thousands of criminals, called the UN “stupid” and vowed to continue his anti-narcotics offensive despite mounting criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon. The UN statement, posted on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, police and the public to kill drug suspects, while promising to protect police from prosecution. “Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law,” Callamard said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Du30 wants to go rogue, leave UN
[DIGONG TO FORM OWN INT’L BODY?]


AUGUST 22 -Since the United Nations (UN) would not stop pestering him on human rights, President Duterte said he would prefer that the Philippines leaves the multinational association setting the stage for the Philippines becoming a rogue state. Duterte threatened yesterday to withdraw the Philippines from the UN as he launched another profanity-laced tirade against the organization for criticizing his bloody war on crime.Duterte said he may even look to set up another international organization.“I would invite everybody. I would invite maybe China, the African (nations),” he said.More than 1,500 people have been killed since Duterte took office and immediately began his law-and-order crackdown, according to police statistics, triggering fierce criticism from the UN and rights groups.Duterte, a lawyer famous for an acid tongue who has repeatedly told the UN not to interfere, yesterday stepped up his rhetoric.“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that disrespectful, son of a whore, then I will just leave you,” Duterte said in a press conference in his home city of Davao that started about 1 a.m.The UN’s special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, last week said Duterte’s promise of immunity and bounties to security forces who killed drug suspects violated international law.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June also strongly criticized Duterte, who during the election campaign promised to kill 100,000 people and dump so many bodies in Manila Bay that the fish would grow fat from feeding on them.“I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Ban said. READ MORE...

ALSO: UNGASS 2016 - Special Session of the UN General Assembly on world drug problem
[RELATED: UN Special Rapporteur Publishes Devastating Attack on the War on Drugs]


APRIL 2016 -After many years of preparation, the UNGASS was finally held from 19 – 21 April 2016 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) brought together representatives of the Member states of the United Nations to evaluate and debate the central aspects of drug policies.The main outcome was the adoption of the final document entitled "Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem," containing operational recommendations to address and counter the world drug problem.
One of the greatest achievements of UNGASS 2016 is that this process represented a further shift towards a more health oriented approach to drug issues. There is also greater emphasis on access to essential medications and all the debates have included the need to protect the rights of children, the proportionality of sentences and the gender perspective. Even though we have much work left to do in the areas of prevention, education, treatment, recovery and reintegration good things from UNGASS are that prevention, recovery and alternative development got a good place in the outcome document. From the three, alternative development is the one which has escalated most in the last few years. The main disappointment from many organisations and NGOs as well as many countries is that progress could not be made on the elimination of the death penalty for drug offences. By unanimous agreement (except for the countries that apply it), continued application of the death penalty was condemned, but this element was unfortunately not included in the final document. We hoped the UNGASS would go further in this regard but the issue was vetoed-blocked by several countries which meant that no progress was made. The words harm reduction didn't make it into the final outcome document but individual harm reduction interventions were specifically mentioned. This indicates that member states support harm reduction interventions in their own regard but don't support harm reduction as an overarching philosophy for drug policy. READ MORE...RELATED, UN Special Rapporteur Publishes Devastating Attack on the War on Drugs...

ALSO: Challenged by Panelo, UN exec accepts Palace invite to visit PH
[UN special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard tweeted on Friday: “Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to ‘see for myself.’”]


AUGUST 20 -UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard. Photo from Agnes Callamard Twitter account
The war of words between President Rodrigo Duterte and the United Nations escalated on Thursday, with a UN envoy warning that “state actors” could be held responsible over hundreds of killings in the government’s controversial crackdown on illegal drugs.Challenged by presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo to come over and see for herself the real situation, UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard tweeted on Friday: “Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to ‘see for myself.’” In a statement, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the “seeming incomprehension by local and international observers” was “more alarming than the pandemic use and trade of illegal drugs in the Philippines.” Legal obligations More than 1,500 people have died in Mr. Duterte’s fight against narcotics, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa told a Senate hearing on Thursday, saying that 665 drug suspects were killed in “legitimate (police) operations” with another 889 killed by vigilantes. UN experts called on the Duterte administration to end targeted killings and the extrajudicial executions of drug suspects. “Claims to fight the 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,” Callamard, said in a statement on Thursday. Also on Thursday, two UN rights experts said that Duterte’s directives calling on law enforcers and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers “amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law.” The warning came a day after President Duterte, who swept to a landslide election victory in May largely on a pledge to kill thousands of criminals, called the UN “stupid” and vowed to continue his antinarcotics offensive despite mounting criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon. “When you are in New York or somewhere else, 10,000 kilometers or miles away from the Philippines and then you make such judgments, that’s recklessness,” Panelo said of Callamard’s statement. “Those statements are misplaced and baseless, and they better come over and see for themselves the real situation,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: UN not welcome to probe drug war—Palace
[Reacting to a tweet by UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government has not offered official invitation to any third party to look into its state affairs as “we are capable of our own internal dialogue.”]


AUGUST 20 -Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC
Malacañang on Saturday said the United Nations and other international bodies were not welcome to look into national matters such as the Duterte administration’s war against drugs, which it said drew “unwarranted attention” from observers. Reacting to a tweet by UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government has not offered invitation to any third party to look into its state affairs as “we are capable of our own internal dialogue.” READ: UN exec accepts Palace challenge to visit PH 
“The President therefore finds the pronouncements from certain bodies as unwelcome meddling in national matters. The drug situation is being responsibly addressed by Philippine authorities, and so-called investigations by third parties are objectionable interference in the household affairs of a nation whose citizens welcome the change that the President and his people friendly policies and programs being set in place,” Abella said in a statement. READ MORE..


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Palace slams UN for ‘seeming incomprehension’ of drug problem


Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ August 19th, 2016 - Malacañang on Friday accused the United Nations (UN) and other international observers of “incomprehension” as they criticize President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.

“What is more alarming than the pandemic use and trade of illegal drugs in the Philippines is the seeming incomprehension by local and international observers,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

Abella’s statement was released a day after UN rapporteurs criticized Duterte for allowing summary killings to proliferate under his watch.

READ: UN rapporteurs air concern over PH drug killings

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, said illegal drug trafficking should be decided by courts “not by gunmen on the streets.”

“We call on the Philippine authorities to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” Callamard said in a statement.

Dainius Puras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, also said the drug issue should be treated as a public health issue and actions against the illegal trade should be carried out in full compliance with the Philippines’ human rights obligations.

Puras and Callamard said Duterte’s public condemnation of the vigilante killings “is not enough.”

On the other hand, Abella pointed out that there is a rise in “narco-politicians” who buy votes using money earned from the illegal drug trade.

READ MORE...

“In his pursuit to staunch the flood of drugs from nearby countries and entrenched manufacturers in key cities and locations, the President framed the menace in terms of war, which resulted in a number of deaths, but even more surprisingly, in the surrender of hundreds of thousands of users,” the spokesperson said.

He said Duterte has already tasked the police to investigate cases involving vigilantes and innocent people killed in police operations.

“The nature of a number of deaths though [implies] internecine, or organizational killings within the drug trade,” he claimed.

Abella reiterated Duterte’s earlier pronouncement that he will not tolerate extrajudicial killings. “Nor is it policy,” he added.
READ: Duterte ‘bothered, troubled’ by drug-related killings

Citing a decrease in crime rate, Abella said, “The President therefore decries the attribution of killings to the Philippine government.”

“This is simply unfair, especially to the hardworking men and women in uniform who risk their lives and limbs to win the war against drugs,” he said.

“The government approach is to see drugs as a public health and social issue, but also as a national security issue.” RAM/rga


TRIBUNE

UN steps up war of words with Rody Written by Tribune Wires Saturday, 20 August 2016 00:00



Duterte not committing any crime—Palace spokesmen

But the presidential spokesmen said Duterte committed no crime. The President’s chief legal counsel hit back at the UN, calling the UN claims “reckless and baseless.”

More than 1,500 people have died in Duterte’s fight against narcotics, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa told a Senate hearing, saying that 665 drug suspects were killed in “legitimate (police) operations” with another 889 were killed by vigilantes.

“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,” the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard said in a statement.

The warning came a day after President Duterte, who swept to a landslide election victory in May largely on a pledge to kill thousands of criminals, called the UN “stupid” and vowed to continue his anti-narcotics offensive despite mounting criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

The UN statement, posted on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, police and the public to kill drug suspects, while promising to protect police from prosecution.

“Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law,” Callamard said.

READ MORE...

UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius P?ras, added that the fight against the illegal drugs trade must “respect the human rights of each person.”


BREAKING NEWS: Duterte Slams United Nation For Being Stupid Proposition On War Against Drugs FROM NETIZENSPH.COM

Palace accuses UN, Int’l observers of incomprehension

Malacañang on Friday accused the United Nations (UN) and other international observers of “incomprehension” as they criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against illegal drugs.

“What is more alarming than the pandemic use and trade of illegal drugs in the Philippines is the seeming incomprehension by local and international observers,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Abella’s statement was released a day after UN rapporteurs scored Duterte for allowing summary killings to proliferate under his watch.

Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, said illegal drug trafficking should be decided by courts “not by gunmen on the streets.”

“We call on the Philippine authorities to adopt with immediate effect the neces-sary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” Callamard said in a statement.



Dainius Puras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, also said the drug issue should be treated as a public health issue and actions against the illegal trade should be carried out in full compliance with the Philippines’ human rights obligations.

Puras and Callamard said Duterte’s public condemnation of the vigilante killings “is not enough.”

Abella pointed out that there is a rise in “narco-politicians” who buy votes using money earned from the illegal drug trade.

“In his pursuit to staunch the flood of drugs from nearby countries and entrenched manufacturers in key cities and locations, the President framed the menace in terms of war, which resulted in a number of deaths, but even more surprisingly, in the surrender of hundreds of thousands of users,” the spokesman said.

He added that Duterte has already tasked the police to investigate cases involving vigilantes and innocent people killed in police operations.

“The nature of a number of deaths though implies internecine, or organizational killings within the drug trade,” he claimed.

Abella reiterated Duterte’s earlier pronouncement that he will not tolerate extrajudicial killings. “Nor is it policy,” he added.
Citing a decrease in crime rate, Abella said, “The President therefore decries the attribution of killings to the Philippine government.”

“This is simply unfair, especially to the hardworking men and women in uniform who risk their lives and limbs to win the war against drugs,” he said.

“The government approach is to see drugs as a public health and social issue, but also as a national security issue.”

UN ‘reckless and baseless’


PANELO

As for Duterte’s other spokesman, chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo, he criticized as “baseless and reckless” a UN statement that Duterte’s bloody war on drugs amounted to a crime under international law.

Panelo told AFP the administration was not behind the extrajudicial killings targeting alleged criminal suspects, challenging UN human rights experts to visit the Philippines and investigate.

Two UN rights experts said Thursday that Duterte’s directives calling on law enforcers and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers “amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law.”

“When you are in New York or somewhere else, 10,000 kilometers or miles away from the Philippines and then you make such judgments, that’s recklessness,” Panelo said.

“Those statements are misplaced and baseless, and they better come over and see for themselves the real situation.”

Duterte, 71, won May elections in a landslide on a promise to intensify anti-illegal drug operations to prevent the Philippines from becoming a narco-state. He has offered security officials bounties for the bodies of drug dealers.

When he took office on June 30, Duterte told a crowd in Manila: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”

However, Panelo said the UN should not take such statements seriously.

“He is just asking the public to cooperate with the campaign.”

Duterte’s spokesmen have said his statements are just hyperbole but police have reported killing more than 600 people since he took office.

A television station has put the death toll at over 1,100, which includes reported vigilante killings where bodies turn up on streets with card board signs branding them as drug pushers.

Panelo insisted police only killed suspects in self-defense while other deaths were the work of drug syndicates who feared their members would surrender and cooperate with authorities.

“How can you stop the killing of members of the syndicates? You cannot be guarding them all the time,” Panelo said in response to the UN experts’ call.

International and local rights groups, some lawmakers and church leaders in the mainly Catholic nation have condemned the killings. The Senate is set to launch an investigation next week into possible rights violations in police operations.

Still, Duterte’s police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said Friday law enforcers would not be deterred and the campaign was just starting.

“It’s a low (point) when we are being investigated but we go on... we never back down,” a report from Agence France Presse said.

On Wednesday, Duterte warned the United Nations not to meddle in the country’s politics and told foreign human rights watchdogs not to “investigate us as though we are criminals”.



UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June condemned Duterte’s apparent support for extrajudicial killings, saying they were “illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms”.

The UN’s anti-drugs office also this month said it was “greatly concerned” by the reports of extrajudicial killings.

The UN and President Duterte remain on a collision course, with the UN letting loose its artillery aimed at the Chief Executive.

“The new bombastic and brash president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte is undertaking a war on drugs like no other country on earth,” UN Dispatch, through its blog, noted.

The international body reciprocated Duterte’s latest comment by calling his purge on the narcotics industry as “insane.”

“It’s a human rights disaster unfolding in real time and another indication that Duterte is a singularly unique – and some may say threatening — individual in global affairs,” Mark Leon Goldberg, UN Dispatch’s managing editor, said in his commentary.

“This is a war on drugs like no other on earth,” he stressed.

Goldberg also pointed out that Duterte’s “Punisher”-like method against criminality in Davao City where he served as mayor for more than two decades is now becoming a sort of a national policy.

“Duterte, a long serving mayor of the city of Davao unexpectedly emerged as president of the Philippines in elections this year, and how he is applying harsh anti-crime tactics honed at the municipal level on a national scale,” Goldberg noted.

Under Duterte’s watch in Davao City, Amnesty International and local human rights groups, claimed there were over 300 persons killed in by the so-called Davao Death Squads (DDS).

On Wednesday, Duterte also responded to the UN’s statement condemning the spate of extrajudicial killings under his two-month old regime, calling the international body’s comments as a form of “stupid intervention.”

“Here comes the UN easily swayed on a very stupid proposition of those who are killed by the drug syndicates. We can only investigate, but do not attribute acts of other criminals upon my government,” Duterte said in a speech.

Duterte’s spokesman Martin Andanar said the public supported the crackdown.

“President Duterte has time and again warned us during the (election) campaign that if you vote for me, this is going to be bloody,” he said, adding that there is “no war without casualties”. AFP with local reports


TRIBUNE

Du30 wants to go rogue, leave UN
[DIGONG TO FORM OWN INT’L BODY] Written by Ted Tuvera Monday, 22 August 2016 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 2 comments

Since the United Nations (UN) would not stop pestering him on human rights, President Duterte said he would prefer that the Philippines leaves the multinational association setting the stage for the Philippines becoming a rogue state.

Duterte threatened yesterday to withdraw the Philippines from the UN as he launched another profanity-laced tirade against the organization for criticizing his bloody war on crime.

Duterte said he may even look to set up another international organization.

“I would invite everybody. I would invite maybe China, the African (nations),” he said.

More than 1,500 people have been killed since Duterte took office and immediately began his law-and-order crackdown, according to police statistics, triggering fierce criticism from the UN and rights groups.

Duterte, a lawyer famous for an acid tongue who has repeatedly told the UN not to interfere, yesterday stepped up his rhetoric.

“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that disrespectful, son of a whore, then I will just leave you,” Duterte said in a press conference in his home city of Davao that started about 1 a.m.

The UN’s special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, last week said Duterte’s promise of immunity and bounties to security forces who killed drug suspects violated international law.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June also strongly criticized Duterte, who during the election campaign promised to kill 100,000 people and dump so many bodies in Manila Bay that the fish would grow fat from feeding on them.

“I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Ban said.

READ MORE...

Duterte frequently peppers his public comments with swear words, he has also called Pope Francis and the US ambassador to Manila sons of whores, and days after his election win used typical language to criticize the UN.

“Fuck you, UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage... couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa,” he said then.

Last month Duterte said he may not ratify the country’s commitments to a historic UN climate change pact agreed by his predecessor last year.

Yesterday morning Duterte said the UN had done nothing for the Philippines, ignoring its poverty reduction programs and enormous help following typhoons and other natural disasters, as he continued to curse it.

“I don’t give a shit to them. They are the ones interfering,” he said.

On the day he was sworn into office, Duterte called for people in slums to kill neighbors whom they believed were drug addicts, repeating a campaign line.

His aides have since said such comments are merely hyperbole and not meant to be taken literally.

However nearly 900 people have been murdered by unknown people during Duterte’s term, with police killing another 665 alleged drug suspects, according to Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa.

The killings represent a massive increase on crime deaths before Duterte took office.

Duterte has repeatedly insisted police have only killed in self defence, while maintaining the other deaths are due to drug syndicates killing each other.

‘I’ll teach UN to count’

In a press conference at the ‘Malacañang of the South’ in Panacan, Davao City Duterte directed his outburst at the UN: “You’re complaining that there is no process. Okay, you guys, you law experts of the United Nations, come here, come here and face me and make the accusations and I will show you the statistics and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count,” he said.

The President said that he’s willing to dialog with UN observers to explain to them the effects of his war on the narcotics industry yet his spokesman Ernest Abella said a UN fact finding mission that Callamard offered to lead to look into the summary killings in the country is not welcome and will be considered “unnecessary meddling” into internal affairs.

“I will explain extra-judicial killings, for international release, if you want,” he said, reiterating his policy instructions to state security forces to liquidate resistant suspects while restating that he assumes responsibility for the outcome of his war on drugs.

“My orders are for the police to go out and hunt for criminals. I tell them to arrest these criminals if they surrender peacefully, but kill them if they put up a violent struggle. I assume full responsibility for what happens,” Duterte stressed.

Sticking to his campaign promise of swift justice, Duterte said that shooting resisting offenders is better than the tedious process in courts.

“My job as President is to protect law-abiding citizens. I was never tasked by any law to protect criminals. I say this because 16 million people voted for me and I have a large margin between me and the next candidate,” he said.

“The President therefore finds the pronouncements from certain bodies as unwelcome meddling in national matters. The Philippines has not extended any invitation to anybody, nor the UN to look into its national affairs. We are capable of our own internal dialogue,” Abella had said.

Abella added that foreigners criticizing Duterte’s policy that seemingly encourages killing more criminals and drugs suspects are accordingly ignorant of the Philippines’ distinct culture – whatever that is.

“The liberal Western values being imposed upon an Asian nation that places premium on common good is both insensitive and displays a lack of appreciation for the diversity of global culture,” Abella claimed.

Last Friday, Callamard responded to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo’s dare to visit the Philippines to take a look at the effects of the Philippine government’s policies against drug offenders.

“Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to ‘see for myself,” Callamard said through Twitter last Friday.

Abella, however, described Panelo’s statement as unofficial and that the Palace never invited anybody from the UN to send a team to the country.

“In an unofficial exchange between Legal Counsel (Panelo) and UN mouthpieces, the latter assumed they were offered an invitation to come and investigate the spike in drug related deaths being labeled as extra-judicial, or a license to kill freely,” Abella said.

Another joke?

Malacañang said Duterte’s threat of leaving the UN will have no effect on the country’s foreign relations.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said despite failing to classify the President’s statement as a serious policy statement or a mere joke, it will not cause any harm on the Philippines’ image before the community of nations.

“Everytime the President said something, they say its a policy-statement but I do not see anything contradicting our foreign policy,” Andanar said on radio.

Andanar said the country remains a “team-member” in the community of nations.

“Now, we have our multilateral agreements with other countries, we have our bilateral agreements, we still [respect] our contracts with other nations, our allies. So, so far I don’t see anything being violated,” he said.

Earlier yesterday, President Duterte said that the UN is not helpful to the Philippines anyway.

“When were you here the last time? Never. Except to criticize... When have you done a good deed to my country? We are contributing money,” Duterte said, addressing the UN in a news conference early morning in Davao City.

The President seems to be uninformed that the UN donated $193 million to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda back in November 2013.


EURAD.NET

UNGASS 2016: Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on world drug problem

After many years of preparation, the UNGASS was finally held from 19 – 21 April 2016 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS) brought together representatives of the Member states of the United Nations to evaluate and debate the central aspects of drug policies.The main outcome was the adoption of the final document entitled "Our joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem," containing operational recommendations to address and counter the world drug problem.

One of the greatest achievements of UNGASS 2016 is that this process represented a further shift towards a more health oriented approach to drug issues. There is also greater emphasis on access to essential medications and all the debates have included the need to protect the rights of children, the proportionality of sentences and the gender perspective.

Even though we have much work left to do in the areas of prevention, education, treatment, recovery and reintegration good things from UNGASS are that prevention, recovery and alternative development got a good place in the outcome document. From the three, alternative development is the one which has escalated most in the last few years.

The main disappointment from many organisations and NGOs as well as many countries is that progress could not be made on the elimination of the death penalty for drug offences. By unanimous agreement (except for the countries that apply it), continued application of the death penalty was condemned, but this element was unfortunately not included in the final document. We hoped the UNGASS would go further in this regard but the issue was vetoed-blocked by several countries which meant that no progress was made.

The words harm reduction didn't make it into the final outcome document but individual harm reduction interventions were specifically mentioned. This indicates that member states support harm reduction interventions in their own regard but don't support harm reduction as an overarching philosophy for drug policy.

READ MORE...

Summaries and statements

The formal sessions, which consisted of the plenary session and the five interactive round tables, were held with representatives of UN Member States of the United Nations, and international and civil society organizations. In the words of Yury Fedetov, UNODC Director, civil society is a vital partner in all our efforts to counter the global drug problem.

List of full statements delivered by Member States during the UNGASS general debate as well as webcasts on demand are available here.

Roundtable summaries

-Tuesday 19th: Roundtable 1 Demand reduction and related measures, including prevention and treatment, as well as health-related issues; and ensuring the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion ("drugs and health")

-Wednesday 20th: Roundtable 2 Supply reduction and related measures; responses to drug-related crime; and countering money-laundering and promoting judicial cooperation ("drugs and crime")

-Wednesday 20th: Roundtable 3 Cross-cutting issues: drugs and human rights, youth, women, children and communities

-Thursday 21st: Roundtable 4 on Cross-cutting issues: new challenges, threats and realities in preventing and addressing the world drug problem in compliance with relevant international law, including the three drug control conventions; strengthening the principle of common and shared responsibility and international cooperation

-Thursday 21st: Roundtable 5 Alternative development; regional, interregional and international cooperation on development-oriented balanced drug control policy; addressing socioeconomic issues.

The outcome document is just a document - the success of the UNGASS process will be seen only in the programmes and activities that are funded and implemented as a consequence of it.

EURAD would like to thank all our affiliates and our civil society partners who have worked side by side in the different countries, committees and work groups to make it possible for civil society to be present at the UNGASS.

Going forward

Next big review will be in 2019

-------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM CANNABUSINESS.COM

UN Special Rapporteur Publishes Devastating Attack on the War on Drugs Deej Sullivan10th December 2015


dainius-puras-

Dainius Puras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, has become the latest in an ever-increasing list of agencies and officials to demand an end to the criminalisation of drug users.

In an open letter published on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ahead of world human rights day (December 12th), Puras rips into the decades long status quo of locking people up for drug production, possession, and use.

His letter takes specific aim at what he sees as a fundamental issue emerging in the build up to UNGASS 2016: the lack of focus on Human Rights.

“As Special Rapporteur on the right to health, I am concerned about the lack of explicit and clear human rights standards and commitments in the current negotiations for the UNGASS outcome document. While human rights is included as a theme, it has played a very minor role in the negotiations to date, and risks becoming a hollow opening paragraph with no meaningful debate, development or follow up.”

This is not a new problem.

For years it has been argued, by activists and organisations such as the UK’s Transform Drug Policy Foundation, that the current prohibitionist consensus on how to deal with ‘the drug problem’ necessarily erodes and violates key human rights. In stark contrast to this, the UN’s own key drugs agencies – the UNODC, INCB, and CND – have, as a rule, ignored the human rights issue altogether when it comes to drug use, despite it being one of the key pillars of the UN as a whole.

In his letter, Dainius Puras points to “the commitment made by the 2005 World Summit ‘to support further mainstreaming of human rights throughout the United Nations system’”, and throws down a challenge to member states to “ensure this commitment is upheld as they develop the substantive elements of the UNGASS discussions. Human rights must be a cross-cutting issue informing all discussions at the high-level general debate”.

He goes on to explain, in great detail, the key areas in which the current war on drugs is failing to uphold the most basic human rights, with (obviously, given his title of Special Rapporteur on the right to health) a particular focus on the health of both drug users and those affected by drug policy. The full letter is available here in .pdf form, and is well worth a read at only 6 pages long.

As UNGASS approaches, the previously taboo subject of human rights in relation to drug policy seems to have suddenly become fair game. The results have been very promising.

The Special Rapporteur’s letter is just one of many reports and publications that have been released over the past few months that have laid bare the destructive nature of punitive, punishment-based drug policy.

A plethora of UN agencies, including the WHO, UNFPA, UNHCR, the World Bank, UNDP, UNESCO, UNAIDS, the ILO, UNICEF, and the UNODC have now voiced their opinion that a shift in focus is needed, and that we must now accept that decriminalisation is a vital first step to achieving this.

In addition, reports have been published by the likes of Count The Costs, who, on the UN’s Universal Children’s Day, released a ground-breaking study into the enormous harm caused to young and vulnerable people all over the world by the war on drugs.

All of this apparent progress is still, however, at odds with what member states of the UN themselves have had to say. 24 member states have now submitted ‘operational recommendations’ for UNGASS 2016, which can be found here, and which do not make for particularly encouraging reading.

It remains to be seen whether these states, or the UN bodies and Special Rapporteurs like Dainius Puras, will have the greatest effect on the outcome of April’s potentially historic meeting in New York.


INQUIRER

UN exec accepts Palace challenge to visit PH By: Leila B. Salaverria @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:56 AM August 20th, 2016


UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard. Photo from Agnes Callamard Twitter account

The war of words between President Rodrigo Duterte and the United Nations escalated on Thursday, with a UN envoy warning that “state actors” could be held responsible over hundreds of killings in the government’s controversial crackdown on illegal drugs.

Challenged by presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo to come over and see for herself the real situation, UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard tweeted on Friday: “Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to ‘see for myself.’”

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the “seeming incomprehension by local and international observers” was “more alarming than the pandemic use and trade of illegal drugs in the Philippines.”

Legal obligations

More than 1,500 people have died in Mr. Duterte’s fight against narcotics, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa told a Senate hearing on Thursday, saying that 665 drug suspects were killed in “legitimate (police) operations” with another 889 killed by vigilantes.

UN experts called on the Duterte administration to end targeted killings and the extrajudicial executions of drug suspects.

“Claims to fight the 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,” Callamard, said in a statement on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, two UN rights experts said that Duterte’s directives calling on law enforcers and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers “amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law.”

The warning came a day after President Duterte, who swept to a landslide election victory in May largely on a pledge to kill thousands of criminals, called the UN “stupid” and vowed to continue his antinarcotics offensive despite mounting criticism, including from UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

“When you are in New York or somewhere else, 10,000 kilometers or miles away from the Philippines and then you make such judgments, that’s recklessness,” Panelo said of Callamard’s statement. “Those statements are misplaced and baseless, and they better come over and see for themselves the real situation,” he added.

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Vigilante killings


ABELLA

Abella said on yesterday that the President had ordered an investigation of police personnel in connection with possible incidents of vigilante or mistaken killings.

“The President decries the attribution of killings to the Philippine government. This is simply unfair, especially to the hardworking men and women in uniform who risk their lives and limbs to win the war against drugs,” Abella added.

The Palace official blamed the previous administration for not doing enough to curb the drug problem and the “disturbing rise of ‘narcopoliticians’” who use drug money to buy votes, and said that President Duterte was now dealing with the matter.

It has resulted in a number of deaths, Abella said, “but even more surprisingly, in the surrender of hundreds of thousands of users,” he added.

It appeared that a number of the killings were perpetrated by those involved in illegal drug operations, Abella said, adding that “[t]he nature of a number of deaths imply internecine, or organizational killings, within the drug trade.”
Ensure public safety

Abella said the government’s principal concern was ensuring the safety and security of citizens, leading it to undertake a purging of bad eggs within the police ranks.

“Crime rate has significantly decreased. A general cleanup of police ranks on assignment has been undertaken when the President assumed office,” he said.

Abella said the government approach was to treat drugs as a public health and social issue, as well as a matter of national security.

When he took office on June 30, Mr. Duterte told a crowd in Manila: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”


PANELO

However, Panelo said the UN should not take such statements seriously. “He is just asking the public to cooperate with the campaign.”

Duterte’s spokespersons have described his statements as hyperbole, although the police have reported killing more than 600 people since he took office.

Panelo insisted police only killed suspects in self-defense while the other deaths were the work of drug syndicates who feared their members would surrender and cooperate with authorities.

“How can you stop the killing of members of the syndicates? You cannot be guarding them all the time,” Panelo said.

Condemned

International and local rights groups, some lawmakers and church leaders have condemned the killings while the Senate will continue its investigation next week into possible rights violations during police operations.

Dela Rosa said yesterday that law enforcers would not be deterred by the Senate investigation and that their campaign was just starting. “It’s a low (point) when we are being investigated but we go on … we never back down,” he said.

UN special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras, said the fight against the illegal drugs trade must “respect the human rights of each person.”

But Mr. Duterte’s spokesperson Martin Andanar said the public supported the crackdown. “President Duterte has time and again warned us during the (election) campaign that if you vote for me, this is going to be bloody,” he said, adding that there is “no war without casualties.” With a report from AFP/TVJ


INQUIRER

UN unwelcome to probe drug war—Palace By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net
03:25 PM August 20th, 2016


Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

Malacañang on Saturday said the United Nations and other international bodies were not welcome to look into national matters such as the Duterte administration’s war against drugs, which it said drew “unwarranted attention” from observers.

Reacting to a tweet by UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government has not offered invitation to any third party to look into its state affairs as “we are capable of our own internal dialogue.”

“The President therefore finds the pronouncements from certain bodies as unwelcome meddling in national matters. The drug situation is being responsibly addressed by Philippine authorities, and so-called investigations by third parties are objectionable interference in the household affairs of a nation whose citizens welcome the change that the President and his people friendly policies and programs being set in place,” Abella said in a statement.

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This was after Callamard, in an exchange with chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo, accepted the latter’s challenge to see for herself the real drug situation in the Philippines: “Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to ‘see for myself.’”

But Abella said Callamard only assumed that she was invited to investigate the spate of killings in the country, as he reiterated the Duterte government’s adherence to the rule of law in its relentless drive against illegal drugs.

“The President has made it clear that arresting officers are allowed to defend themselves, their lives or team. The same police enforcers are subject to rule of law should they go beyond their mandate. Beyond these, the President operates under the presumption of regularity in the drive against drugs,” Abella said.

“The liberal Western values being imposed upon an Asian nation that places premium on common good is both insensitive and displays a lack of appreciation for the diversity of global culture,” he added.
As of Aug. 18, the Inquirer’s “Kill List” notes 684 drug-related deaths since June 30 or after President Duterte took office. IDL


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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