The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein slammed President Rodrigo Duterte on November 21 for his repeated threats to slap UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard if she pushes through with investigating Duterte over allegations of extrajudicial killings.
Zeid, through his spokesperson Rupert Colville, relayed his statement on the threats against human rights experts.
“We are concerned by continuing efforts by certain states to undermine and denigrate important mechanisms established by the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council,” Colville said.
“The High Commissioner also deplores the repeated insults and threats of physical violence against the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, by the President of the Philippines and his supporters,” he added.
Colville was referring to Duterte’s threat to slap Callamard in November 9 if she probes the alleged extrajudicial killings involved in the war on drugs.
He recalled how the Philippine president “made the same threat” against the special rapporteur back in June.
Colville also described how Callamard was subjected to abuse by online trolls.
“Ms Callamard, who has clearly been acting fully in line with her mandate when commenting on the situation in the Philippines, has also been subjected to a tirade of online abuse, including physical threats, during what appears to be a prolonged and well-orchestrated trolling operation across the internet and on social media,” he said.
He added that this trolling and the “repeated personal attacks” by Duterte are being carried out to “intimidate” and stop her from carrying out her mandate.
“We condemn this treatment of Ms Callamard, and the disrespect it shows to the Human Rights Council that appointed her, in the strongest terms,” the spokesperson of the UN rights chief said.
Duterte earlier invited Callamard to the country to investigate, but gave the condition that she can only do so if she participates in a public debate with him and under oath.
On November 9, Duterte remarked, “Kaya sabi ko kay Callamard, kung imbestigahan mo ako, sampalin kita.”
“I will slap her in front of you. Why? Because you are insulting me. Why? Because you yourself do not believe in the research of your own organization. You are fucking me and I do not want it,” he said.
Duterte made the threats while recalling how Callamard invited American psychology professor Dr. Carl Hart who earlier said that there is no proof that shabu can shrink the human brain. Callamard quoted and tweeted Hart’s remarks.
Duterte threatening to slap Gascon
Aside from Callamard, Duterte also made the same threat against the Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon and called the latter “gay.”
He slammed Gascon during his speech at the 65th General Assembly of the League of Cities of the Philippines on November 21.[ads1]
“Human rights. Pu—bakit ka tahimik diyan? Kaya itong is Gascon, ‘t— ina ‘pag nakita kita, leche ka. Better avoid that we cross paths. P— ina, sampalin talaga kita. Totoo lang,” Duterte said.
“Hindi ko alam kung bakla ka o either masipa kita o… Hindi mo naman ako mademanda. Sige daw beh. Iyon ang masakit sa akin. Kami dito—you don’t even bother to find out kung sino ang namatay,” he added.
Gascon has spoken out against the alleged EJKs in the government’s drug war.
In September, Duterte asked if Gascon was a pedophile for his “fixation” on the deaths of young boys.
In response to this, Gascon told GMA News Online that it was “unfortunate” how Duterte used name-calling and “hurtful language” against him. He also maintained that the different perspectives of the President and the CHR is “part of the checks and balance system” of the country’s democracy.