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Locsin eyes PH withdrawal from UNHRC

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is mulling the possibility of the country withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council like what the United States did in June last year.

Locsin floated the idea in response to a tweet by a netizen asking how the Philippine representation in Iceland reacted following the approval of a UNHRC resolution pushing for a probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration’s war on drugs campaign.

“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 in a Twitter post on Saturday. 

In June 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the UN’s top human rights body, a move that was heavily criticized by various rights groups and even foreign leaders.

Then US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused the UN human rights body of “chronic bias” against Israel.

“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights,” the former US diplomat said during her announcement of Washington’s withdrawal from the UN rights body.

In October 2018, the Philippines strongly lobbied and won a seat at the UNHRC, garnering 165 votes out of 192 cast by member-states. Locsin, then the Philippine representative to the UN Mission in New York City, led the country in campaigning for a seat it earnestly sought amid calls to investigate thousands of death related to President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign. (Roy Mabasa)