Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council
Marje Pelayo • July 15, 2019 • 2100
MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. hinted on the possible withdrawal of the Philippines from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNCHR).
Locsin posted the idea on Saturday (July 13) when a netizen inquired about how the Philippine representation in Iceland reacted to the Council’s approval of Iceland’s resolution seeking to probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines in relation to the Duterte administration’s drug war.
The resolution garnered 18 affirmative votes, 14 negative and 15 abstentions.
“No embassy in Iceland. Nor does Iceland have an embassy here. Iceland took the place of the US after it withdrew from the Human Rights Council. I think we need to follow America more,” Locsin said.
The United States withdrew from the UNHRC on June 19, 2018 in protest to what it claimed as ‘chronic bias’ against Israel and for allowing human rights violators and abusers as members.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley then described the human rights body as ‘hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”
“For too long, the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” Haley said during the official announcement of U.S. withdrawal from UNHRC.
In October 2018, the Philippines lobbied for a seat at the UNHRC and won after receiving 165 votes of 192 cast by UN member states.
The Philippine and the United States military divers, along with local government units and non-government organizations installed artificial reefs in Batangas on August 15.
Oplan Pamamalakaya is a collaboration between by the Philippine Air Force, DV Boer Farm, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, and Municipality of Calatagan local government and residents.
The team were able to install a total of 30 jackstone-type artificial habitat reefs made from simple construction materials.
“This project was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with our friends in the PAF and help preserve the Philippine environment for future generations,” said Major Zach Hart, a participating diver.—AAC
An Iranian tanker headed through the Mediterranean towards Greece on Monday (August 19) after it was released from detention off Gibraltar as Tehran warned against any U.S. move to seize the vessel again.
The Grace 1, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, left anchorage off Gibraltar about 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Sunday (August 18).
Refinitiv ship tracking data showed early on Monday that the vessel was heading to Kalamata in Greece.
The seizure of the tanker by British Royal Marines near Gibraltar on July 4 on suspicion it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions led to a weeks-long stand-off between Tehran and the West. It also heightened tensions on international oil shipping routes through the Gulf.
Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, lifted the detention order on Thursday (August 22) but the next day a federal court in Washington issued a warrant for the seizure of the tanker, the oil it carries and nearly $1 million.
Iran on Monday said any U.S. attempt to seize the tanker would have “heavy consequences” and that a crisis in Iran’s ties with Britain would not be over until the vessel reached its destination. (Reuters)
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