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Philippines to join UN rights group amid crackdown concerns

UNITED NATIONS — The Philippines has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council despite rights groups’ complaints that a government widely condemned internationally for a deadly drug crackdown doesn’t belong in a group meant to call out abuses.

The Philippines is among 18 new council members chosen Friday via an uncontested election in the U.N. General Assembly.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has left more than 4,800 suspects dead in clashes with police, by his government’s account. Rights groups say the toll is much higher.

Duterte has denied condoning unlawful police killings in the anti-drug campaign, although he has repeatedly threatened death to drug dealers.

The United States withdrew from the council in June, partly because Washington sees it as hypocritically including countries with troubling rights records.