Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Manila slams United Nations rights chief

Manila slams United Nations rights chief

Roque's statement came after Zeid suggested that Duterte needs to see a psychiatrist, and Duterte threatening to feed to crocodiles any special rapporteur from United Nations who will come to the country to investigate his campaign against illegal drugs.

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the UN Human Rights Council must take a position", Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said, after Duterte's government sought to get a UN investigator, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests declared as "terrorists".

"I think the matter of the statement by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights is being treated very seriously".

"It makes one believe that the president needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination".

Instead of criticizing the Philippine government, its fight against illegal drugs and terrorism should be viewed in a "comprehensive, unbiased and objective way, and support its efforts to move forward its human rights cause in light of its national conditions".

"If you answer their questions, it will be freewheeling, it is recorded", he continued.

Critics said Duterte in his public pronouncements ordered or encouraged policemen to kill those involved in drug trafficking, resulting in thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings.

But Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the petition was "a virtual hit list".

"Duterte is engaged in a wild anti-communist witch hunt under the guise of anti-terrorism", he said.

Zeid also said he deplored the continued vilification of United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and Duterte's order to Philippine soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in their genitals.

Reacting to Duterte's vulgarity, Zeid on Friday said that it was "absolutely disgraceful that the president of a country could speak in this way, using the foulest of language against a rapporteur that is highly respected".

The UN investigator, former lawmaker and four former priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerrillas the Philippines wants declared "terrorists", according to a Government petition filed in court.

"It (Zeid's remark) did not come at an appropriate time", he said.

The petition said the rebels were "using acts of terror" to sow fear and panic to overthrow the Government.

Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, also said Tauli-Corpuz and another Filipina rapporteur are embarrassing the Duterte administration when they publicly expressed on the possible escalation of militarisation in Mindanao, especially among the "lumad" (indigenous peoples).

"An immediate look at his list of "terrorists" will show that he is running amok in slandering people as 'terrorists.' There are also hundreds of John Does in the list just to intimidate a limitless number of people", he said in a statement. Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also disputed his account, saying "the world actually needs more Dutertes".

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