Press Release
June 23, 2018

Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the US's Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council

The withdrawal of the US from the UN Human Rights Council, just one year before its term expires, is quite symbolic and speaks volumes about the state of human rights in the United States, at least under the leadership of President Donald Trump. It is a great example of what insidiousness can lie beneath a thin and nearly transparent sheet of propaganda.

Just like Duterte when he unilaterally manifested the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC, the Trump administration wants their people, along with the rest of the world, to believe the bald-faced lie that he did it for benevolent and morally right reasons. They claim that they withdrew in order to promote human rights, with the US's UN Ambassador, Nikki Hailey, calling the Council a "protector of human-rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias," and that "America should not provide it with any credibility."

The truth, however, is plainer and less moral than that. They, Trump and Duterte, both turned their backs on their respective international obligations, not to serve the common good and the interests of human rights, but to serve their own personal interests: to save their own respective hides.

Trump did it to pre-empt his being called out for his own oppressive policies, the most recent being his order to separate minor children of illegal immigrants from their parents, and to be held, in the tens of thousands, inside facilities that have been likened to "chain-link cages". While such heartless move, a policy of "government-child abuse," as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein has put it, has since been taken back, it mirrors the President's anti-human rights proclivities.

And Duterte did it for the same reason: to hide from his own responsibilities for the human rights abuses he has heaped upon the Filipino people. The thousands of deaths linked to the so-called "War on Drugs" is just one evil aspect of it-all those dead bodies, with Filipino people not even seeing any real progress (SWS reports that 40% of Filipinos nationwide think that their neighborhood has many drug addicts). The unwarranted Martial Law over Mindanao, which is not only questionable, but is also apparently a huge failure, with the same survey reporting that fear of unsafe streets in Mindanao increased by 13 points to 48% in March 2018 from 35% in December 2017. Not to mention his recent targeting of tambays, that has already resulted in a fatality.

May magpapaloko pa ba kay Duterte? By now, everybody should already see that this man is out to protect no one but himself, his family and his friends - hindi pa ba s'ya napapagod sa kunwaring pag-alis pero pagbabalik din sa pwesto ng mga tiwaling miyembro ng kanyang administrasyon?

So-called "leaders" like Duterte are the bane of a civilized society. It is too bad that the US, instead of being a leader of the free world and a true defender of human rights, seems to be taking a page out of Duterte's Dictator's Handbook.

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