President Duterte: PHL doors open to refugees

President also calls on UN member-states to fully implement NPT to ensure global security environment

President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the High-Level General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly from the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on September 22 (New York date).

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (Philippine time) called on United Nations member-states to fully implement the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to helping refugees.

In his first UN address, the President also called for a convention against chemical and biological weapons, noting that  “no aspiration nor ambition can justify the use of weapons that destroy indiscriminately and completely.”

“There is no excuse for deaths that a nuclear war could cause nor the reckless use of chemicals and biological weapons that can cause mass destruction,” he said.

He said that these “weapons of deaths put at all at mortal risk especially if they fall in the hands of terrorists without a shred of humanity in their soul.”

For the Philippines’ part, he said he has asked the Philippine Senate to ratify the NPT, as he noted that the Philippines was among the first to sign the landmark agreement that aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, and further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

PHL doors open to refugees

In his address, the President also touched on the refugee crisis, which, according to the UN, has seen the displacement of over 30 million people, and millions of stateless people denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

“Lest we forget, helping the most vulnerable, those displaced….is a shared responsibility of all countries,” he said.

He said the doors of the Philippines, for its part, were open, “as they have always been,” to everyone fearing for their safety such as the Rohingyas.”

He noted that the Philippines has a long history of opening its doors to refugees, from the white Russians following the 1917 revolution, the European Jews in the second world war, to the Vietnamese in the late 1960s, and the Iranians displaced by the 1979 revolution.

“The Philippines continues to honor this humanitarian tradition in accordance with our obligation under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 protocol,” he said.

The convention in Geneva defined what a refugee was, and laid down the responsibilities of nations in granting asylum “as a result of  events occurring before 1 January 1951” in Europe.

The 1967 protocol, on the other hand, removed those temporal and geographic restrictions.

“In the face of a mounting refugee crisis let us work together towards ending the conflicts and conditions that force people to flee their homes,” the President added.