UN Prompts Duterte to Warn Drug Dealers: "I Will Kill You"

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said on Friday Callamard was invited previous year but had not responded.

The United Nations special envoy on extrajudicial executions yesterday issued a veiled rebuke of President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly campaign against illegal drugs, saying world leaders have recognized that such an approach does not work.

Abella added that if Callamard truly is committed to ensuring due process to the government which is an issue of importance to the country, she should be in Geneva, Switzerland meeting with the Philippine delegation to the 3rd Cycle of the Universal Period Review of the Philippines and the issue of human rights.

The envoy sought to visit the Philippines past year, but said she ultimately couldn't accept the government's condition that she publicly debate Duterte.

Agnes Callamard told a forum in Manila on Friday that badly thought out policies not only fail to address drug abuse and trafficking but compound them and foster a regime of impunity infecting the whole society. She rejected the offer and called on the government to allow her to visit without any conditions. Instead, she had suggested a joint news conference.

Callamard traveled to the Philippines to speak on Friday at a two-day policy forum in Quezon City, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has noted that she is not speaking in her official capacity.

"On 28 April 2017, the government was officially informed of my forthcoming visit to the country to take part in an academic conference on drug-related issues".

Callamard added that the Philippine government acknowledged receipt of her letters and replied on April 29 and May 1.

For his part, CHR chairperson Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon also said that he was not aware of Ms. Callamard's visit but clarified that her visit is not for the conduct an official inquiry, but to attend the forum.

She said that she would be in the country until Monday, May 8. While speaking Friday at a forum hosted by the Philippines-based activist group FLAG Anti-Death Penalty Task Force, Callamard called the method ineffective and unsafe, with the potential to damage society as a whole.

"That's why the rapporteur of the United Nations is here, investigating extrajudicial killing", the President said, while recalling his controversial remarks that had been criticized by rights advocates and global bodies such as the United Nations, the European Union and the US State Department.

"This is a matter we have asked our representatives at the United Nations to take up with their United Nations counterparts and it is something our delegation in Geneva will certainly be raising during their current visit", he added.

The government appeared to be caught off guard by Callamard's trip, saying it would lodge a protest with the United Nations because she had not organized the visit through official channels.

"While the drug problem is a common and shared responsibility, we underscore the sovereign right of each state to determine the best approach to address their drug problem considering its historical, political, economic, social and cultural context, and social norms", Lapeña said.

They say police are only responsible for deaths that were in self-defense during anti-drugs operations.

The UN and the Philippines have differing accounts of Callamard's request to investigate allegations of extrajudicial drugs-related executions in the country.

  • Larry Hoffman