President Rodrigo Duterte issued a threat to have the Philippines leave the United Nations (UN) after human rights experts urged him to stop the extrajudicial killings in his campaign against drugs.
Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, warned Duterte about endorsing the killing of suspected drug personalities, calling it as his way of giving everyone a “license to kill.”
This could be in reference to how Duterte has assured law enforcers that he would support them if they are questioned in the killings of drug suspects.
“Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill,” Callamard said.
“Intentional lethal use of force is only allowed when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and should not be used for common policing objectives,” she added, as quoted by the ABS-CBN News report.
Callamard added that “claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve a government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.
She also emphasized the government’s “legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security over every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offenses or not.”
Another UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras said that drug addiction is a public health concern.
“Concerning drug-dependency, this should be treated as a public health issue and justice systems that decriminalize drug consumption and possession for personal use as a means to improve health costumes,” Puras said.
Both experts from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a joint statement that said, “Incentives to violence such as bounties or the promise of impunity also seriously contravene the rule of law and must end. All allegations of killings and extrajudicial executions must be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Perpetrators and instigators must be sanctioned without exception.”
Panelo defends Duterte against UN experts
“When you are in New York or somewhere else, 10,000 kilometers or miles away from the Philippines and then you make such judgments, that’s recklessness,” Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said on August 18.
“Those statements are misplaced and baseless, and they better come over and see for themselves the real situation,” he added.
Panelo defended Duterte’s message to a Manila crowd on June 30, when he said, “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”
“He is just asking the public to cooperate with the campaign,” he said.
In response to UN experts’ call for Duterte to stop the killings, Panelo said, “How can you stop the killing of members of the syndicates? You cannot be guarding them all the time.”
UN experts accept ‘invitation’ to visit PH
In response to Panelo’s dare for the UN experts to “better come over and see for themselves the real situation,” Callamard tweeted her acceptance of the “invitation” on August 19.
“Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to ‘see for myself’,” Callamard posted on Twitter.
Invitation to investigate welcomed. Ready to “see for myself.” https://t.co/K9BIZ3ZFKO
— Dr Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) August 19, 2016
Duterte calls UN experts ‘bastos,’ threatens to leave UN
Duterte resented the UN rapporteurs’ tweet about visiting the Philippines in response to Panelo’s challenge to “see for themselves the real situation.”
“Maybe we just have to decide to separate from the United Nations,” Duterte told the media during an early morning press briefing in Davao City.
“Kung ganyan kayo kabastos eh umalis na kami diyan sa inyo,” he added.
Duterte also repeated his warning to international groups not to rely on the newspaper reports alone.
“You do not just throw that kind of allegations or statement without even coming here. You’re just relying on the reports of newspapers and tabloids. That’s what you do,” the President said.
Duterte issued a challenge of his own to the UN experts.
“Let them talk to me and let them face me with hard facts,” he said.
He called UN “inutile” for not being able to stop wars and promote peace among other countries within the organization and for not doing anything good for the Philippines.
“So take us out of your organization. You have done nothing. Where were you here the last time? Never. Except to criticize,” Duterte remarked.
“When have you done a good deed to my country?” Duterte asked UN.