GENEVA—The Philippine foreign secretary told the UN rights council on Monday that Manila would “destroy criminals” in a defiant defense of President Duterte’s drug war.
“There can be no middle ground for the well-being of our people. We will not be kind,” Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. told the opening of the 47-member council’s main annual session in Geneva.
“We will not hesitate to destroy criminals who seek the wholesale destruction of our society,” he added.
More than 7,000 people have been killed in Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, launched after he took office eight months ago.
Rights groups and the United Nations have sounded the alarm over the prospect that the Mr. Duterte’s administration was serially perpetrating extrajudicial killings.
“It is lamentable that international observers, are more focused on the so-called human rights of criminals but have done nothing to help in eliminating the drug problem that has grown to pandemic proportions,” Yasay said.
Mr. Duterte’s highest-profile critic at home, Sen. Leila de Lima, was arrested last week on drug trafficking charges.
De Lima, a former human rights commissioner, has said she is innocent and her arrest was an act of revenge for her decade-long efforts to expose Mr. Duterte as the leader of death squads during his time as mayor of Davao City. —AFP
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