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U.S. voices outrage as Syria assumes presidency of U.N. disarmament body

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

A U.S. national flag and its shadow on the Harry S. Truman Building at the Department of State are pictured in Washington, in this October 24, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files

 

The U.S. State Department voiced outrage on Tuesday (May 29) over the Syrian government’s assumption of the presidency of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament for the next month, saying Damascus lacked credibility to preside over the body because of its use of chemical weapons.

“We are outraged at the Syrian regime’s blatant disregard for human life, its serial violations of and contempt for its international obligations and its audaciousness in assuming the presidency of an international body committed to advancing disarmament and nonproliferation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing. “Syria lacks the credibility to assume the presidency.” — Reuters

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Senators divided over PH’s possible withdrawal from UN human rights body

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

UNHRC Hall | Courtesy: United Nations Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s tweet about the Philippines’ possible withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) earned mixed reactions from members of the Senate.

In reaction to the issue, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the Philippines may face unfavorable consequences in the future with its withdrawal from different UN bodies.

“It may be a matter of time when we will be left to our own devices. We do not know when, but being a developing country, we may need to knock on the doors of the community of nations sooner or later,” Lacson said in statement on Monday (July 15).

For his part, Senator Francis Pangilinan believes there will come a time when the Philippines will have to explain the outcome of the government’s drive against illegal drugs.

“We can run but we can’t hide. Sooner or later we will have to explain if not to the international community at the very least to ourselves and our citizens why tens of thousands have been killed,” Pangilinan said.

“Yet the drug menace has become worse while drug syndicates and customs officials behind the smuggling of tons of shabu through the BoC go unpunished,” he added.

But Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed support to whatever the Foreign Affairs Department proposes best for the country.

“He would be in the best position to assess what is beneficial for our country as far as diplomacy with others is concerned,” Sotto said of Locsin.

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.

READ: Philippines eyes withdrawal from UN Human Rights Council

The resolution garnered 18 affirmative votes, 14 negative and 15 abstentions. – with details from Nel Maribojoc.

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Iran ready to talk to U.S. if sanctions lifted

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at televised address | Courtesy: Reuters footage

Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday (July 14).

“When a big power that is a bully, well then we have to stand up to it. It must stop being a bully. We have always believed in talks. Always, right this hour, right this moment, if they stop the oppression, if they stop the belligerence, if they lift sanctions, return to the table, return to to logic; we are ready,” said Rouhani.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.

But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018.

Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute. (REUTERS)

(Production: Vin Shahrestani)

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DOJ, NBI ready to probe law enforcers over violations in drug operations

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are ready to probe law enforcers who may have committed violations during drug operations.

According to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra they are prepared to investigate authorities who may have committed violations of law related to the government’s anti-drug war campaign.

“The DOJ and the NBI are ready and willing to investigate and prosecute law enforcement agents upon proper complaint by people who have personal knowledge of any wrongdoing by police officers during drug operations until witnesses come forward and testify,” he said in a statement.

This is Guevarra’s response when the Amnesty International called on the Justice department to conduct an investigation related to violations on drug operations.

“There’s no need for Amnesty International to urge us to investigate possible violations of law by  law enforcement agents in the conduct of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign,” he said.

Guevarra reiterated that the police should respect the ‘presumption of regularity’ while performing their duties.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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