Posts Tagged ‘international court’

Philippines: Inclusion in UN rights council no endorsement of Philippine policies

October 14, 2018

The Philippines’ election to the UN Human Rights Council is not an endorsement of the government’s campaign on illegal drugs or its human rights records, Karapatan said Sunday.

The human rights group pointed out in a statement Sunday that there were only 18 candidates for the 18 seats on the council, meaning the country’s re-election to the council “is due to the removal of any competition, instead of the Palace’s dramatized version of ‘acknowledgement by the international community’ of the Duterte government’s infamous campaigns.”

According to a UN explainer on the Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly allows “extra blank slates” to enable a competitive voting process. “However, if – as was the case this year with 18 candidacies for 18 available seats – no extra countries apply, then no competition occurs, and whichever Member State applies, is likely to get elected.”

RELATED: International rights groups: ‘Philippines unfit for seat on UN Human Rights Council’

In this image obtained from the UN, conference officers collect ballots during the election of new members of the UN Human Rights Council on October 12, 2018 at the UN in New York. Bahrain, Cameroon and the Philippines were among a number of nations controversially elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, sparking sharp criticism from rights groups. “By putting forward serious rights violators and presenting only as many candidates as seats available, the regional groups risk undermining the council’s credibility and effectiveness,” said New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Manuel ELIAS / UNITED NATIONS / AFP

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo claimed the re-election meant that “the community of nations has viewed the drug menace as a global problem requiring its utmost attention in forcefully dealing with it and forging a united front against the purveyors of its proliferation across the frontiers of the world.” He added the Philippines “is showing the way how to slay the dragon of destruction.”

“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,” Alan Peter Cayetano, who is stepping down as Foreign Affairs secretary to run for congressman of Taguig, also said.

Karapatan: Gov’t spin does not erase thousands killed

But Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said Sunday that staying on the council “does not absolve the Duterte government of its rights violations against the Filipino people.”

“It does not erase the thousands killed in its murderous drug war or its spectrum of violations and scores of victims in indigenous and peasant communities,” Palabay, who participated in an “International People’s Tribunal” in Belgium in September, said. The IPT proceedings, although not legally binding, would be forwarded to the International Court, organizers said then.

“We thus call on the UNHRC to pursue its independent investigation to look into human rights violations in the Philippine, amid numerous reports and complaints that have been submitted to the said body,” she also said.

She said government spin on the re-election “reflects the Duterte administration’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge its accountability on the numerous killings as a result of its war on drugs and its attacks on human rights defenders and civilians as a consequence of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao.”

The Philippine government has maintained that it upholds and protects human rights but has also claimed the the issue of human rights has been “weaponized” by members of the political opposition to discredit the government.

According to a government “RealNumbersPH” release in September, there have been 4,854 “drug personalities” killed in anti-drug operations since July 1, 2016. Critics and human rights groups have higher estimates.

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/10/14/1859968/inclusion-un-rights-council-no-endorsement-philippine-policies-karapatan-says#5bvTttuguYmW1x0k.99

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Karapatan which translates as rights, is a human rights non-governmental organization in the Philippines. The full name of the group is KARAPATAN: Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karapatan
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UN court ruling on US sanctions shows Tehran is ‘right’: Iran

October 3, 2018

Tehran welcomed on Wednesday a ruling by the UN’s top court ordering Washington to suspend sanctions on humanitarian goods, as a “clear sign” that “Iran is in the right”.

The ruling by the International Court of Justice “once again shows that the US government… is day by day becoming more isolated,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

© AFP/File | US President Donald Trump and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani faced off at the UN in September. Tehran has hailed a ruling by the UN’s top court ordering Washington to suspend sanctions on humanitarian goods, as a “clear sign” it is “in the right”

It said the court had found that the crippling sanctions reimposed by Washington after it abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Tehran were illegal.

“World public opinion and all independent countries will, with peace of mind, strive… to keep and carry out the JCPOA,” it added, using the official acronym for the agreement.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the court ruling “another failure for sanctions-addicted US government and victory for rule of law”.

“Imperative for int’l community to collectively counter malign US unilateralism,” he added in a tweet.

AFP

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Sanctions on Iran: International Court of Justice rules against US

October 3, 2018

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered the US to ease sanctions it re-imposed on Iran after pulling out a nuclear deal last year.

Siding with Tehran, it said exports of “humanitarian” goods, such as food and medicines, should be allowed.

Judges listen to lawyers for Iran at the International Court of Justice (27 August 2018)

The US argued the court had no jurisdiction in the case as it concerned its national security.

The rulings of the ICJ – which is based in The Hague – are binding but the court has no power to enforce them.

It is the main judicial organ of the UN and settles legal disputes between member states. But both nations have in the past ignored the court’s rulings.

Announcing the decision on Wednesday, the court’s president, Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, said: “The court considers that the United States must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediment (…) to the free exportation to the territory of Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs.”

Mohammad Javad Zarif praises European efforts to preserve the nuclear deal

Iran’s economy has slumped since US President Donald Trump ordered that sanctions be reinstated in May. Its currency, the rial, has dropped sharply.

A curb on ‘economic warfare’?

Analysis by Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague

The order calls for a partial easing of punitive measures. It covers medicines, medical supplies and equipment, food, agricultural products and aviation safety equipment.

This is essentially the first time international judges have ruled on what’s been described as a case of “economic warfare”.

It is a provisional measure issued in response to Iran’s urgent request ahead of the second round of sanctions scheduled to be reinstated next month.

The decision could encourage European companies, which ceased trading with Iran for fear of falling foul of President Trump, to reconsider their position, specifically those dealing in the humanitarian items outlined by the judges.

What were the arguments in court?

Iran said the sanctions violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between Iran and the US, which grants the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes.

US-Iran sanctions: What do they mean?

It also said the reasons cited by President Trump for re-imposing the sanctions were unfounded because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had repeatedly confirmed that Iran was complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord signed by Tehran and six world powers.

US lawyers argued that the ICJ should not have jurisdiction and that Iran’s assertions fall outside the bounds of the treaty.

The ICJ has ruled previously that the 1955 treaty is valid even though it was signed before the 1979 Revolution in Iran, which saw the US-backed shah overthrown and heralded four decades of hostility between the two countries.

Why did the US abandon the nuclear deal?

The 2015 accord saw the Islamic Republic limit its controversial nuclear activities in return for relief from international sanctions.

But Mr Trump said the deal had “failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb” and did not deal with Tehran’s “malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism”.

In an attempt to compel Iran to agree to a new accord, the president reinstated sanctions that targeted the Iranian government’s purchase of US dollars, Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, and its automotive sector.

In November, a second batch of potentially more damaging sanctions will be re-imposed on Iran’s oil and shipping sectors as well as its central bank.

The other parties to the deal – the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia – have pledged to abide by their commitments under the existing deal. But many major firms have already pulled out of Iran.

BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45729397

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UN court orders US to stop Iran sanctions

October 3, 2018

The International Court of Justice has ruled that US sanctions on medicine must be dropped immediately. The US has contested the right of the court to intervene in matters between Washington and Tehran.

    
The International Court of Justice

The UN’s top court ordered the United State to lift certain sanctions on Iran on Wednesday. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that sanctions against humanitarian goods were a danger to public safety.

The ICJ unanimously decided that Washington “shall remove by means of its choosing any impediments arising from the measures announced on May 8 to the free exportation to Iran of medicines and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities.”

US sanctions on spare parts for aircrafts were also ordered to be lifted because of the “potential to endanger civil aviation safety in Iran and the lives of its users.”

Iran filed a lawsuit against the US at the Netherlands-based court in July, arguing that the sanctions violate a decades-old bilateral treaty and are wrecking Iran’s economy and the value of its currency.

The ruling is preliminary as hearing the full case is a process that could take years.

Lawyers for the Trump administration, which reimposed the sanctions in May after pulling the US out of Tehran’s landmark nuclear accord, argued that the sanctions were justified by national security concerns and that the ICJ did not have the jurisdiction to rule on them.

Decisions made by the ICJ are binding and cannot be appealed, but the court has no means of enforcing its rulings.

Iran’s foreign ministry welcomed the ruling, saying: “The decision proved once again that the Islamic Republic is right and the US sanctions against people and citizens of our country are illegal and cruel.”

es/aw (AP, AFP)

https://www.dw.com/en/un-court-orders-us-to-ditch-iran-sanctions/a-45737767

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China believes that fishing and oil industries from the South China Sea may amount to trillions of dollars — What does the Philippines get?

July 20, 2018

NATIONAL papers talk about the Spratly Islands as belonging to us, well and good. What’s then all the protests about?

The Spratly Islands were, in the past, coral islets mostly inhabited by seabirds. They consist of 18 islands but, according to Chinese sources, the Spratlys consist of 14 islands or islets, 6 banks, 113 submerged reefs, 35 underwater banks and 21 underwater shoals.

Image result for philippine flag, china flag

After so many claims and disputes of nearby surrounding countries, the international courts decided in favor of the Philippines. So, the Spratly Islands belong to us. However, claims and counter claims as to which country these islands belong to have not waned.

Aside from us, China insists on its historical rights over the islands, and so do Brunei, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. This is now what we call the South China Sea Disputes involving island and maritime claims.

What’s there to fight about? The Philippines, Malaysia and other countries began referring to the Spratly Islands as included in their own territory as far back as the 1970s. The Philippines started exploring the area in 1976 until gas was discovered. However, China complained and its protests halted the exploration. President Ferdinand Marcos then in 1978 issued Presidential decree No. 1596, declaring the north-western part of the Spratly Islands or the Kalayaan Island Group as Philippine territory.

The first Philippine oil company discovered an oil field off Palawan in 1984, which is an island province bordering the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea. These oil fields supply 15 percent of annual oil consumption in the Philippines.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature

The whole contested area seems to parallel the crude oil output of Kuwait in case it undergoes serious exploration and production. It has been speculated to be the new Persia related to oil production. In addition, the abundant fishing opportunities in the area are strong incentives for the disputes. The South China Sea is believed to have accounted for ten percent of fishing harvests worth billions of dollars in the world resulting in clashes between Philippine and foreign vessels. China seems to believe that fishing and oil industries from the South China Sea may amount to trillions of dollars.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Aside from these, the region is also one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Crude oil transported by sea passes through this sea way and accounts for more than half the tonnage of the world’s transported crude oil. It is claimed that the traffic here is three times bigger than that passing through the Suez canal and greater too than the business traffic in the Panama Canal. Oh oh, no wonder the scramble for ownership?

To add, the US and China are at odds over the area because of international rights to free access. The USA’s free access to this region is good for its economic and geopolitical interests.

So that’s the picture! The claims of six other sovereign nations will go on despite the Philippines’ being bestowed ownership by international courts. Vietnam is aggressive on this and so are several of the other nations. Now, we have protesters urging our government to fight China and all other nations expecting ownership of the Spratlys despite the international court’s decision.

Should we fight for our rights over the islands that have been naturally inhabited by birds since the beginning of our knowledge, or should we opt for peace by sharing the bounty of the South China Sea with all the nations aggressively fighting for this area too? In other words, should we opt for peace…or WAR?

I love you Baguio!

By EVANGELINE MURILLO

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law. Vietnam has been unable to develop its own undersea oil due to China’s aggressive behavior.

UN chief calls for Syria referral to International Court — “Grave crimes in Syria” — Use of Chemical Weapons

January 27, 2018

 

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (AFP)
UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is again calling on the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, pointing to “serious violations” including blocking aid deliveries and medical care to millions.
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The U.N. chief also called on all combatants, U.N. member states and civil society to cooperate with an independent panel established by the General Assembly in December 2016 to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity in Syria.
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Guterres said in a report to the council circulated Friday on the humanitarian situation in Syria in December that “accountability for serious violations is a requirement under international law and central to achieving sustainable peace.”
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During December, he said, no aid was delivered to over 417,000 people in nine “besieged” locations, and only 60,000 of the nearly 2.5 million Syrians living in “hard-to-reach” areas received humanitarian help. He said 95 percent of the besieged population is besieged by Syrian government forces.
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Guterres said “access for the United Nations and its partners to those people living in besieged and hard-to-reach locations remained a critical concern.”
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He said deliveries of food and other aid remained “extremely challenging” in many areas last month “as a result of active conflict, shifting conflict lines, administrative impediments and deliberate restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods by the parties to the conflict.”
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The secretary-general singled out the deteriorating humanitarian situation for the estimated 393,000 people living in eastern Ghouta, an opposition-held pocket besieged by Syrian forces. Prices for basic goods there are some 30 times higher than in neighboring Damascus city, “far beyond the purchasing power of most residents,” he said.
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Guterres noted that between Dec. 26-28, 29 urgent medical cases were evacuated from eastern Ghouta. But he said “an additional 600 people remain in need of urgent medical evacuation” and “18 have already died while waiting to be evacuated.”
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The U.N. chief called on all countries with influence over the Syrian government and opposition fighters “to do their utmost” to facilitate medical evacuations and humanitarian aid into eastern Ghouta.
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Syrian authorities also continued rejecting or removing “life-saving and life-sustaining medical items” from convoys last month, he said. In addition, 16 health care facilities and personnel were attacked in December.
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While Guterres again urged that Syria be referred to the International Criminal Court, the search for justice has proven to be exceedingly difficult, especially at the United Nations.
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A Security Council resolution backed by more than 60 countries to refer the Syrian conflict to the ICC was vetoed by both Russia and China in May 2014.
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A new attempt at the council to refer Syria to the ICC would almost certainly face a similar fate.
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But following the double veto, several countries, including Sweden, Germany, France and Finland, said they were investigating or prosecuting alleged perpetrators of grave crimes in Syria.
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In November, Russia also vetoed renewal of the expert body from the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that was determining responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
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The Joint Investigative Mechanism or JIM had blamed Russia’s close ally, President Bashar Assad, for using chlorine gas in two attacks and the nerve agent sarin in one — accusations that Moscow strongly criticized. By contrast, Russia supported the JIM’s findings that the Islamic State extremist group used mustard gas twice.
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On Tuesday, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called a Security Council meeting and circulated a draft resolution that would replace the JIM.
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The council session coincided with a meeting in Paris where the U.S., France and 22 other countries launched a new organization aimed at identifying and punishing anyone who uses chemical weapons.
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U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called the Security Council meeting a distraction, saying the U.S. is ready to re-establish the JIM “with its original independent and impartial mandate, right now. But anything less is unacceptable.”

 

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Above: Iranian foreign minister Zarif shares some fun with his co-equal from Russia Mr. Lavrov.

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Sochi, Russia, on November 22, 2017

Philippines President Duterte: On Killings, Don’t Look At Me — But The Number of Unlawful Killings Attributed to Duterte’s “War” Continues To Rise

October 15, 2016

 

Photo shows the President gesturing while delivering his speech.

MANILA, Philippines – With the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s chief prosecutor warning that anyone involved in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would be held accountable, President Duterte yesterday washed his hands of the deaths.

Responding to the warning of the ICC’s Fatou Bensouda, Duterte explained that he has openly encouraged police to go after drug suspects and kill them only if they resist arrest.

“Now they say there are already 3,000 people who were killed. Three thousand? Who killed them? I don’t know, but why are they pointing at me, blaming me for those deaths?” the President said in a speech in Basco, Batanes where he visited the victims of a recent typhoon.

Duterte has been up in arms over criticisms raised by the United Nations, United States and the European Union over his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

Residents stand on tree branches to get a glimpse of President Duterte during his visit to typhoon-hit communities in Basco, Batanes yesterday.

The President and his officials have said he cannot be prosecuted before an international court for crimes against humanity in connection with the drug deaths, amid reports that certain groups are pushing for his prosecution.

More than 3,000 suspected drug offenders and users have been killed since Duterte’s June 30 inauguration. Critics are alarmed at the sheer number whose deaths have been attributed to vigilantes, and the President’s apparent support for the killings.

Feeling insulted, the President berated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama and the EU representatives for meddling in local affairs.

“Now, who were those kind of people who were killed? Were they from the government? No, not yet 3,000, we haven’t even reached that far… this is only just the beginning,” Duterte said, referring to the number of killings attributed to his war on drugs.

Duterte added human rights advocates should look at the situation and compare the fatalities to the victims of rape and other brutal crimes committed by drug-crazed individuals.

A multi-billion industry

Duterte stressed illegal drugs in the country are a multibillion-peso industry that he is seeking to destroy.

Computing the P200 per hit of shabu, multiplied by the estimated number of users, Duterte said the shabu industry is a P216-billion industry a year – victimizing families and breaking relationships.

“I’ll give you a simple computation. At P200 per hit for one day, that is P6,000 a month per person times (3-million)… that is P18 billion a month. Times 12, that is P216 billion a year,” he said.

Duterte, however, stopped short of lambasting the United States and the EU anew over the extrajudicial killings.

“Now, they will say that I am threatening the European Union. They are using that ‘this politician is threatening the criminals to death.’ There is nothing wrong in threatening criminals to death,” said Duterte, a former prosecutor and mayor.

“By that statement alone, when you said: ‘I will kill criminals so stop fooling around’. It is a perfect statement, then they want to implicate me for that statement,” he said.

Duterte said he cannot be tried for a supposed violation which is not classified as a crime in the Philippines.

“That’s why I am angry, and I keep on cursing them,” he said.

Malacañang yesterday maintained there are no state-sanctioned killings of suspected drug offenders.

“Drug-related killings, including vigilante killings, are not state-sanctioned. Many of those who died were killed during legitimate police operations, which are currently undergoing investigation as directed by the President,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.

He said that even congressional leaders, in conducting an inquiry into the killings, saw no proof that the killings were state-sponsored.

“In any case, the President has articulated that he is willing to submit himself to an investigation before any body,” Andanar added.

The ICC has warned Duterte that he could face prosecution over extrajudicial killings in his deadly crackdown on drugs that has left more than 3,000 Filipinos dead since July 1.

Bensouda said she was deeply concerned over reports of thousands of alleged killings in the Philippines and statements by government officials who she said “seemed to condone such killings.”

“Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the [court] is potentially liable to prosecution before the court,” Bensouda said.

The Philippines is a member-state of the ICC in The Hague, which has the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Duterte then tossed the blame to allies of former president Benigno Aquino III, accusing them of launching a black propaganda campaign against him ahead of the May elections.

He also recalled how his opponents, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, “threw garbage” at him, referring to supposed exposés on his alleged huge bank accounts.

“The yellows started it all, then they rode on the issue. Remember that it was not an issue against me. It was only (used) after I keep hitting the (high) ratings. Then the garbage of Trillanes surfaced,” Duterte said.

Rody: Don’t threaten me with rally

Talk of ousting Duterte also persists in the country, particularly in Metro Manila, barley four months into his six-year term.

A group of Filipino businessmen in New York was reportedly hatching a plan to oust Duterte early next year.

In response, Duterte yesterday told Manila residents not to threaten him with a rally.

He said that if he gets ousted in a year or two, he would accept it as part of God’s plan for him or as part of his destiny.

“Huwag ninyo akong takutin ’yang mga taga Manila na mag rally kayo next year paalisin niyo ’yan. Kasi pag napaalis ako, that is part of my destiny (people of Manila, don’t threaten me with a rally to oust me next year. If I would be ousted, that is part of my destiny),” he said in Batanes.

“Hindi ko (alam) bakit ako nanalo (I do not know how I won) without the money and effective machinery. And I would say ‘it’s the Lord. God gave it (presidency) to me’,” he added.  – With Giovanni Nilles

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/10/15/1633792/rody-killings-dont-look-me

A few things all Filipinos should know:

Pontius Pilate also washed his hands. But that did not make him any less responsible and accountable. Too many unlawful deaths are never a good thing. One unlawful death is unlawful and wrong. All nations need to continue to work on that every day.

No nation with a drug problem ever successfully killed their way out of it.

The below three paragraphs come from this article in The Star:

John Collins, the executive director of London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project has said, “What we find is that aggressive enforcement often spikes violence by disrupting cartel structures, leading to fragmentation of operations whereby members of cartel go to war with each other for control of the organization or splinter into rival groups competing over turf.”

Enforcement-heavy wars against drugs around the world in the past century are found to have failed in cutting the supply and demand of substances in the long run. Acknowledging that the drug problem persists, experts recommend a holistic approach to managing it.

“The right objective should be to minimize violence in criminal markets and maximize public health. For both of those objectives, the war on drugs in the Philippines unleashed by Duterte is not only ineffective but outright counterproductive,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Brookings Institution scholar on urban violence and drug policy.

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See also:

“China is suppressing Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations”
https://johnib.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/hong-kongs-loyalty-oath-to-china-backfires-never-imprison-my-mind-new-hong-kong-lawmakers-quote-gandhi-insult-china-hong-kong-is-not-china/

(There is almost no nation on earth with less respect for human rights than China. But the Philippines under President Duterte is on the path to become one of the worst human rights offenders on the planet.)

China’s record on helping people who are addicted is horrible.

Japan, China to hold summit meeting on Monday amid island row

September 4, 2016

Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, the Japanese government said, the first such meeting in more than a year as Asia’s two largest countries are locked in a territorial dispute.

The meeting will follow the conclusion of the two-day G20 summit that started on Sunday in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Tension flared up last month after more than a dozen Chinese coastguard and other government ships sailed near a group of East China Sea islets controlled by Tokyo but claimed also by Beijing, making a meeting between the two top leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit uncertain.

Ties between Japan and China have also been strained by the South China Sea dispute, with Japan urging China to adhere to a ruling by an international court that invalidated China’s territorial claims there. China warned Japan not to interfere.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, editing by Louise Heavens)

China-Philippines fishing deal for Scarborough Shoal ‘may help calm troubled South China Sea waters’ — But China has no claim at all, according to the International Court

August 12, 2016

Joint fishing rights in Scarborough Shoal could help ease tensions between Beijing and Manila, think tank chief says after talks with Fidel Ramos

By Kristin Huang  and Catherine Wong
South China Morning Post

Friday, August 12, 2016, 11:40pm
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Beijing and Manila could explore ways to open the Scarborough Shoal to fishermen from both countries and jointly develop fish farms in the disputed waters, ­according to the head of a ­government-affiliated think tank after talks with former Philippine president Fidel Ramos.

Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said Ramos’ five-day fence-mending trip to Hong Kong could help lower tensions raised by the South China Sea disputes.

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But Ramos would have to first visit Beijing for talks with Chinese officials to pave the way for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to make a formal state visit to China, he said.

In Hong Kong as a Duterte envoy, Ramos discussed six areas for cooperation with Wu and Fu Ying, chairwoman of the National People’s Congress’ foreign affairs committee.

Ties between the two nations have been strained since the Philippines applied for a ruling on the South China Sea from the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which dismissed Beijing’s claims to the disputed waters. Filipino fishermen have also complained of harassment by Chinese government vessels in the Scarborough Shoal.

There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss
WU SHICUN, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SOUTH CHINA SEA STUDIES

Wu said Filipino and Chinese fishermen both needed to fish.

“There are various cooperation plans the two countries can discuss. Fish-farming technology is not advanced in the Philippines and China can help with that,” he said.

But the Philippines had to respect China’s territorial rights over the shoal, Wu said.

Ramos stressed that his meetings with Fu and Wu were held “in a private capacity”, but said his country’s government wanted formal talks to avoid further tensions with China and to explore ways of increasing cooperation between the two nations.

 Fidel Ramos (seated, centre) has dinner in with Fu Ying (third from left) and Wu Shicun (second from right). Photo: SCMP PIctures

Discussions on resolving the territorial disputes would be held, but “as to where this will take place we don’t know yet. We have to go back to Manila to find out the latest developments on the official side”, he said.

A statement signed by Ramos, Fu and Wu said that in addition to marine conservation and fishing rights, the two nations should cooperate on tourism, investment, and cracking down on drugs and corruption.

Efforts on issues such as drugs, smuggling and crime are not as tricky as defence and national security and thus more achievable at this point
DAI FAN, JINAN UNIVERSITY’S INSTITUTE OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES

Analysts said the consensus reached between Ramos and Fu was crucial to rebuilding confidence between the two countries.

“Efforts on issues such as drugs, smuggling and crime are not as tricky as defence and national security and thus more achievable at this point,” said Dai Fan,,an assistant professor at Jinan University’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

De La Salle University assistant professor Richard Javad Heydarian said Ramos’ trip restored a functional level of communication between the two countries.

The visit made room to discuss less politicised areas for cooperation, paving the way for more high-stakes talks between Beijing and Manila, he said.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2003044/china-philippines-fishing-deal-may-help-calm-troubled

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 (July 27, 2016 — Philippine Star)

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China H-6 bomber Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines.
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South China Sea tensions to dominate Sino-Asean talks in Singapore

April 27, 2016

Two-day event marks the 25th anniversary of the start of the dialogue and comes ahead of The Hague’s ruling on territorial disputes

By Shi Jiangtao
South China Morning Post

Senior officials of China and Southeast Asian nations are gathering for two-day talks, amid Beijing’s strengthening efforts to lure support from its neighbours ahead of an international court ruling over the South China Sea disputes.

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Just weeks before an international court ruling on territorial disputes over the sea, senior diplomats from China and 10 nations from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will meet in Singapore – an event that will mark the 25th anniversary of the start of the Sino-Asean dialogue.

Obama and Asean leaders say South China Sea disputes must be resolved under UN rules

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This event is jointly chaired by China’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Liu Zhenmin, and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Chee Wee Kiong.

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Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that apart from making preparations for a Sino-Asean summit in September, the consultation was also aimed at implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed between Asean and China in 2002.

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Four Asean members – the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – have rival claims to parts of the sea with China.

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The Philippines has taken a case against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The court’s ruling, due in late May or early June, is expected to go against China.

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Beijing has intensified its efforts to seek allies to contest the ruling and claimed over the past week that Brunei, Cambodia and Laos had backed its stance on the dispute.

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China to build up atoll in contested South China Sea, source says

However, Beijing’s move has been criticised by several Asean diplomats, who accused China of meddling in Asean’s internal affairs and trying to divide the grouping, according to Singapore’s The Straits Times.

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An Asean diplomat said of the meeting on the bid to have a code of conduct: “Not much can be expected out of this. Progress will be achieved at a glacial pace as China will try and manipulate Asean into acquiescence of its stance.”

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China has been targeted by the US-led concerted efforts surrounding the South China Sea disputes and Beijing has every reason to fight back

WANG HANLING, EXPERT FROM CHINESE ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
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Wang Hanling, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the allegations as well as the arbitration case were biased against China. “China has been targeted by the US-led concerted efforts surrounding the South China Sea disputes and Beijing has every reason to fight back,” he said.

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Three Asean nations agree row will not hurt ties: Beijing

He said three Asean nations’ endorsement of China’s stance in the maritime dispute was of “extraordinary significance” ahead of the ruling.

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Pang Zhongying, of Renmin University of China, also said Beijing’s moves laid bare the fact that there were disagreements among Asean nations on the dispute. But he voiced concerns over the escalating war of words over the dispute, saying it could further strain the Sino-Asean ties.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1938930/south-china-sea-tensions-dominate-sino-asean-talks