Philippines' war on drugs "is needed to avoid a narco-state"

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Perfecto Yasay, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Drugs threaten to turn the Philippines' into a so-called "narco-state" which is why the country will continue to do all it can to eradicate them, its Secretary for Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

Speaking on the opening day of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Perfecto R. Yasay Jr told Member States that the authorities would not "hesitate to destroy" criminals.

According to the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's self-declared "war on drugs" has resulted in the extra-judicial killings of more than 6,000 people.

Vibhu Mishra has more.

Philippines Secretary for Foreign Affairs Perfecto R. Yasay Jr launched a strong defence of his country's war on drugs in a 12-minute address at the UN Human Rights Council.

He said that if the menace wasn't dealt with, the country risked becoming a "narco state", as drug use was so widespread.

The Foreign Minister added that the country's electorate had voted President Rodrigo Duterte into power because he had promised them he would address fears about criminality:

"We will not be kind, and we will not hesitate to destroy criminals who seek the wholesale destruction of our society."

Of its 103 million citizens, more than 30 million are under 14 years old and they are at particular risk from drugs, the Foreign minister said, before insisting that "key officials" and law enforcement agents were responsible for combatting the proliferating drug scene.

The comments by the Philippines delegation in Geneva follow alarm expressed in recent months by UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein at President Duterte's repeated calls for the police, military and members of the public to engage in a war on drugs.

Vibhu Mishra, United Nations.

Duration: 1'12"


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