By Daniel Llanto
The Philippines has been included in the “list of shame” of UN Watch after the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Enrique Manalo, voted against a draft resolution at the UN General Assembly condemning Iran for alleged human rights abuses.
A total of 32 countries voted against the resolution crafted by the UN Third Committee, which focuses on social, humanitarian, and cultural issues.
Apart from the Philippines, the countries that voted against the draft resolution were North Korea, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, and Iraq, all with spotty human rights records. The list of shame was put out by UN Watch.
On the other hand, 79 countries voted in favor of the resolution while 64 abstained.
The draft resolution would have the UN General Assembly raise the alarm on the human rights situation in Iran.
“A draft resolution on human rights in Iran would have the General Assembly express serious concern at the alarmingly high frequency of death penalty imposition, particularly against minors,” said a statement released in the UN website.
That resolution aimed to hold Iran accountable and would have called out the country to ensure that human rights would be upheld.
“It would call on Iran to ensure that no one is subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to end the widespread and systematic use of arbitrary arrests and detention, including the practice of enforced disappearance,” the organization said.
According to its website, the UN Watch is a non-governmental organization that “monitors the UN by the yardstick of its own charter and influences decision-makers, educates world opinion and promotes UN reform, transparency and accountability.”
The organization also said it aims to protect human rights for victims globally.
On the UN resolution, the representative of Iran complained that it was “politically motivated.” He said the draft resolution reflected the behavior of those manipulating human rights issues.
Iran’s representative also denounced the unlawful unilateral coercive measures imposed on Iran, according to the statement.
The other countries that either abstained or voted against the resolution slammed the UN for using “country-specific resolutions” such as the one drafted against Iran, saying the “punitive action” does not advance human rights.
“Many delegations broadly rejected the use of country-specific resolutions, with Cuba’s representative noting that they are ‘only used against developing countries.’”
“In a similar vein, the representative of the Russian Federation said country-specific resolutions ‘have nothing to do with the protection of human rights’ and only undermine the principle of State sovereignty. Burundi’s representative likewise characterized them as ‘counter-productive.’”
In October, the country called for an end to the “weaponization and politically motivated use of human rights,” amid continuous calls of activists and experts in the country to investigate the alleged abuses of the current administration in Iran.
President Duterte, for his part, has repeatedly slammed UN officials for expressing concern over the Philippines’ anti-narcotics campaign that has seen thousands killed after allegedly fighting authorities, according to police figures.
Human rights groups say the death toll is higher and does not include killings by alleged state-sponsored “vigilantes” — which the government denies.
The Philippine National Police reported that about 6,000 drug suspects were killed in police operations so far. But Human Rights Watch said this number did not include thousands more killed by unidentified gunmen in cases that police do not seriously investigate, pushing the death toll to as high as 27,000.