UN launches investigation into Philippines drug war deaths

The government crackdown on narcotics has left 5,300 people dead while retaining the strong support of many Filipinos. (AP)
Updated 11 July 2019

UN launches investigation into Philippines drug war deaths

  • The resolution has faced strong pushback from President Rodrigo Duterte’s government
  • Spokesman Salvador Panelo described the resolution as the ‘latest demonization attempt against the president’

GENEVA: The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed on Thursday to set up a preliminary UN investigation into thousands of killings in the Philippines so-called ‘war on drugs.’

The resolution, brought by Iceland, was adopted by a vote of 18 countries in favor, 14 against (including China), with 15 abstentions (including Japan) at the 47-member forum in Geneva.

The Philippines delegation urged countries to vote against the text which asks UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to report back on her findings in June 2020.


EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for UK trade deal

Updated 13 December 2019

EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for UK trade deal

  • EU is concerned about the rapid speed with which Johnson would like to strike a trade deal with Europe
  • Johnson has until July 1 to request for a trade talks extension

BRUSSELS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday warned of the tight timing for securing a trade deal with Britain, hours after Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a crushing election victory.
“The time frame ahead of us is very challenging,” von der Leyen said, following a discussion by EU leaders on the way forward after Brexit, now expected on January 31.
On the “first of February, we go to work,” she said.
EU Council President Charles Michel warned that the 27 member states would not accept a deal blindly, stressing that the bloc would insist that Britain respect European norms to win the deal.
“There is no question of concluding a deal at any price, said Michel, who coordinates EU summits, after the talks.
“Negotiations are over when the results are balanced and guarantee respect for the different concerns,” the former Belgian premier said.
“We have a way of doing things based on experience, transparency and maintaining unity” in the EU, he added.
EU is worried about the breakneck speed with which Johnson would like to strike a trade deal with Europe and any British effort to undermine the unity among the remaining 27 members.
In a text released after the talks, the 27 EU leaders called for “as close as possible a future relationship with the UK” while warning that it “will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field.”
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will direct trade negotiations, which the leaders will follow closely “and provide further guidance as necessary, fully consistent with the EU’s best interest,” conclusions added.
Johnson has until July 1 to ask for a trade talks extension.
If he refuses to extend the negotiation period, a no-deal Brexit will loom at the end of 2020, with Britain in danger of an abrupt cut in trade ties with Europe, endangering its economy.