Duterte considering cutting ties with Iceland over UN resolution
July 16, 2019 | 12:23 PM
by Agencies
Photo: Supplied

Manila: President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is “seriously considering” cutting ties with Iceland after it sponsored a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to look into the human rights situation in the country, including deaths in his signature war on drugs.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte personally told him that he was contemplating on cutting ties with the Nordic island-country.

“Just talked to PRRD (Duterte) an hour ago. He is seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations with Iceland,” Panelo said in a statement on Monday night.

Panelo described the UNHRC resolution as “grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan”.

“It reeks of nauseating politics completely devoid of respect for the sovereignty of our country. It is bereft of the gruesome realities of the drug menace in the country,” Panelo said.

He said that the Iceland-sponsored resolution was based on false information and unverified facts and figures and only meant to embarrass the Philippines before the international community.

Earlier, Panelo downplayed the impact brought about by cutting Philippine-Iceland ties, noting that it would barely affect Filipino workers there.

“How will it affect us? What relation do we have with Iceland in the first place? We don’t have an embassy there. They don’t have an embassy here either,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

He, however, said the government would consider all factors in deciding whether to proceed with cutting ties with Iceland for good.

“How many Filipinos are working and living there? All of that are taken into consideration. What is the best interest of the country, we will pursue,” he added.

Senator Imee Marcos was the first to propose the severing of ties with Iceland, saying the developed countries cannot impose their agenda on other countries like the Philippines.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr warned that there will be “consequences” for countries that acted out of bad faith.

The resolution, which was tabled by Iceland was passed by the UNHRC with 18 countries voting yes, 15 abstaining, and 14 in opposition. Prior to the vote, 35 states had signed up as co-sponsors of the resolution, according to the Government of Iceland's website.

The resolution expresses concern over allegations of human rights violations in the Philippines, particularly those involving extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, as well as intimidation and persecution of human rights defenders and others.

The resolution urged the Government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and carry out impartial investigations, and hold perpetrators responsible; calls upon the Government to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, and requests the High Commissioner to prepare a comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines.

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