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Philippines Threatens to Cut Ties with Iceland Over UN Probe

In this July 15, 2019, photo released by the Malacanang Presidential Photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Jolo airport, Sulu province, southern Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is considering cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland for leading a push to have the United Nations Human Rights Council investigate his brutal anti-drug crackdown.

The measure, approved last Thursday by a vote of 18-14, cites extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and disappearances at the hands of police since Duterte launched his campaign in 2016.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters in Manila late Monday that the resolution showed "how the western powers are scornful of our sovereign exercise of protecting our people."

Duterte has reacted angrily at any criticism from the international community of his bloody anti-drug crackdown. He withdrew the Philippines from the International Criminal Court earlier this year after prosecutors at the Hague-based tribunal announced last year that it had opened a preliminary examination of crimes against humanity in connection with the campaign.

Duterte's administration says about 6,600 people have been killed by police in shootouts with drug dealers. But local activists have claimed some 27,000 people have been killed as police terrorize poor communities, using cursory drug "watch lists" to identify users or dealers.