PH wins UN Human Rights Council seat

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Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin said the country was able to secure a seat at the UN Human Rights Council Friday.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 13) — The Philippines won a seat at the United Nations Human Rights during elections in New York on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The Philippines was granted another three-year term in the council seat after 165 to 192 member-states voted for it, according to Ambassador Teodoro Locsin, Jr. —  who is also the incoming DFA chief.

The country will be among 47-member states of the council from 2019 to 2021, following its election in 2015. The Philippines first served in the Council from 2007 to 2009, and then from 2012 to 2014.

Outgoing DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano welcomed the development, after international group Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for the UN body to reject the Philippines' re-election bid.

"Our successful bid to keep our seat in the Council is proof that many in the international community remain convinced the Philippines respects and protects human rights and have seen through the efforts of some to politicize and weaponize the issue,"  Cayetano said in a statement.

The HRW earlier said UN countries must show their outrage against the Philippines and Eritrea by keeping them off the council. The group cited the administration's drug war, citing more than 12,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in anti-drug operations — a huge jump from the government data showing 4,000 have been neutralized — as well as the attacks on human rights defenders.

"Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's abusive 'war on drugs' has been a killing frenzy that has left thousands dead," the HRW claimed.

The group also cited the slew of verbal attacks against UN representatives such as Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard and High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who have made public statements against the administration's war on drugs.

In response, Cayetano said critics of the Philippine government's war against drugs are merely being loud to solicit more funds from donors.

"If you want to talk human rights, we're here. Upuan natin (Let's discuss it). But [if] you just want to criticize us from afar and don't want to give solutions, and just keep saying kayo tama kami mali (you're wrong, we're right), it's helping no one except you and your finances," Cayetano said.

The UN General Assembly also elected the following member states: Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, Somalia, Togo and Uruguay.