Locsin: UN not free to interfere with PH’s fight vs drugs, crimes
The United Nations is "not free to interfere" when a state, like the Philippines, is doing its duty to "protect" its population from criminality, Manila's top diplomat said on Saturday.
Addressing the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on September 28, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the UN members should not allow "this platform" to be used to threaten others with accountability for taking a "tough approach to crime."
He made the statement amid the continuous criticisms against the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs. Last July, the UN Human Rights Council also adopted a resolution initiated by Iceland seeking for an investigation against the Philippines' campaign against illegal drugs.
“Civil society is free to complain. Better yet, they should run for public office to gain legitimacy to be able to do something about it. But the UN is not free to interfere with the state in its defining function of protecting its citizens and stamping out threats,” Locsin said.
"The UN is a collection of sovereign states, not a sovereign collective itself. It is only as effective as its members make it. It harnesses sovereignties, not for some against others, but to common purposes of peace and productive cooperation," he added.
Locsin said that the UN's work should reflect the "the realities of the times."
"Only then can the UN stay relevant and become effective. The aspiration of the vast majority of my people today ? call them shortsighted or just plain wrong ? is to be free of drugs and safe from crime. Is that so hard to understand? It seems impossible for some to accept. But the cartel can be persuasive in kind if not in reason," the Foreign Affairs chief said.
"The United Nations is the core of the multilateral global order. As long as the UN exists, none can trumpet the end of multilateralism. But it must be a United Nations strengthened and capacitated in its every member, so that all collectively may achieve its aim of peace and safety,” he stressed.
Based on government data, over 6,000 individuals have been killed in the security forces' operations against illegal drugs since July 2016. But human rights groups have estimated that the figures could be much higher. DMS