Cayetano to UN: PH anti-drug war protects human rights

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) —  Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the government's war against drugs is a "necessary instrument" to preserve and protect, and not violate human rights in the country.

"Security and human rights are not incompatible. Indeed, the first is our duty to the other," Cayetano said at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Sunday.

"Without security, the most basic human rights, to life and safety, are constantly under attack — from terrorism, criminality, drug and human trafficking," he added.

His statement comes after the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted the Philippines' human rights report on September 22.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Cayetano immediately welcomed the final adoption of the third Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report by the 47-member UN Council.

The UPR is a peer review of UN member-states on human rights policies in their countries.

Malacañang welcomed the adoption of the report.

"The adoption of the Philippine UPR Report in Geneva recognizes the human rights record of the Philippines and our country's commitment to human rights under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement Saturday.

Earlier, the Philippines rejected 154 of 257 recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council to improve the country's human rights situation.

Some of the suggestions include investigating extrajudicial killings, as well as stopping the reimposition of death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability.

But the Foreign Affairs Secretary warned UN member-states against "misinformation" on the Duterte administration's war against drugs.

"We should never tolerate human rights abuses but neither should we tolerate misinformation, fake news on and politicization of human rights," he said.

The Philippines is serving its fourth term as a UNHRC member, being one of the first 47 members since 2006. Forty-two member states of are reviewed every year.

The country, however, has been under fire from the UN for several human rights concerns.

On September 12, UN human rights chief Zei Ra'ad Al Hussein expressed concern over the recent spate of killings in the Philippines, including the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in an August 16 police operation.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard has also repeatedly slammed the government's bloody war on drugs.