Philippines may cut diplomatic relations to Iceland

Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, is “seriously considering” cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland, his spokesperson Salvador Panelo has reported. The reason is that Iceland on Thursday. July 4, filed a draft resolution that will push the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to call for concrete actions against the rising number of killings in the Philippines, including those under the violent anti-illegal drug campaign.

On 11 July, 2019, UNHCR assembly adopted the resolution as 18 members voted for and 14 voted against, while 15 abstained from voting. Apart from Iceland itself, also Denmark, UK and Australia were among the countries voting for the resolution.

“Just talked (to) PRRD an hour ago. He is seriously considering cutting diplomatic relations with Iceland,” Panelo said in a message to CNN Philippines. “The adopted Iceland resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan. It reeks of nauseating politics completely devoid of respect for the sovereignty of our country.”

Panelo said the resolution, approved by 18 countries, demonstrates how Western powers are “scornful” of the Philippines’ sovereign exercise of protecting its people from the scourge of illegal drugs. He claims the resolution is based on false information.

Iceland does not have an embassy in the Philippines, since Iceland’s ambassador in Tokyo handles all diplomatic communication with authorities in Manila. There is no Philippine embassy in Iceland either, for all diplomatic correspondence is handled from the Philippine embassy in Oslo, Norway. There are about 1,900 Filipinos living in Iceland.

However, on Tuesday 16 July, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted that the Philippines will not withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) despite its adoption of the resolution seeking to review the human rights situation in the country.

Locsin wrote on his Twitter account that the UNHRC vote was a “a small and harmless matter,” and the Philippines is “not severing diplomatic relations with any country.”

“We’re staying in UNHRC as a pedagogical duty to teach Europeans moral manners. We’re NOT severing diplomatic relations with any country. If we did, where’s the conversation? How do you insult those who insulted us if you cut them off?” he said.

 

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