November 28, 2017
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-979058
Duterte’s foul remarks against UN expert are words of a fascist madman – Karapatan
“Duterte’s repeated public statements insulting and threatening physical violence on United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing Agnes Callamard are not only deplorable and undiplomatic pronouncements of a head of state, but are dangerous acts undermining international human rights mechanisms that are in place to provide redress to victims of rights violations and peoples suffering from State violence. To defend these statements as ‘unorthodox rhetoric’ is simply a lame excuse to promote further rights violations and impunity,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque commented on the recent statements of the UN High Commissioner for Human Right defending Callamard.
On November 10, Duterte said, in his speech in Vietnam, that he will slap Callamard if she continues to investigate on the reported extrajudicial killings in line with the government’s drug war. Previous statements of Duterte also indicate his vehement opposition to Callamard’s official visit for an independent investigation on the killings.
On November 22, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein issued a statement wherein he deplored “the repeated insults and threats of physical violence against UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, by the President of the Philippines and his supporters.”
“Duterte’s invectives against Callamard and against his perceived enemies are becoming like worn-out rants of a madman. Parang sirang plaka na itong si Duterte. These are but smokes and mirrors of his regime’s real intent to cover-up the accountability of his government and state forces on numerous cases of extrajudicial killings in his war against drugs,” Palabay said.
Karapatan added that “it is the mandate of UN special procedures to look into and raise concerns on reports of human rights violations in states.”
Palabay said that “the 2008 report of then UN special rapporteur on EJKs Prof. Philip Alston which was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council helped in exposing the pattern and policy of extrajudicial killings through the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency program before the international community.”
Dr. Chaloka Beyani, UN independent expert on the rights of internally displaced persons, pointed out the dire conditions of indigenous peoples displaced as a consequence of Philippine military operations, after his official visit in 2015. All UN independent experts on the situation of human rights defenders including Mr. Michel Forst, the current special rapporteur, whose requests for official visits/investigation were not heeded, have spoken out against the attacks against Filipino human rights defenders, including land rights and environmental activists.
Despite the Duterte administration’s stubborn refusal to invite Callamard for an official investigation in the country, Karapatan said that they will continue to engage with Callamard and other UN independent experts by submitting complaints and letters of allegation on extrajudicial killings and other rampant human rights violations under the current regime.
“It is our mandate and right as a human rights organization to report the cases and pursue State accountability for all acts committed by State security forces against the people, in all venues available including international mechanisms of the UN. We will never be cowered by any words and acts of a tyrant. We will continue to provide assistance to victims of State violence and be one with them in their struggle for justice,” Palabay concluded.
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.