February 25, 2018, 6:01 am
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Rody’s rude ‘cause Agnes is ‘antipatica’

PRESIDENT Duterte on Tuesday night said he was being rude to United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard because she had insulted him and disrespected the country.

Duterte slammed Callamard anew after the spokesman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville condemned Duterte for his threat to slap Callamard.

Colville, in a press briefing Tuesday in Geneva, said: “Last week, Mr Duterte threatened to slap Callamard if she investigates him for alleged extrajudicial killings.”

“He made the same threat against her in June after she criticized his ‘war on drugs’ campaign which has left thousands dead,” he added, referring to remarks made after her visit in May in an unofficial capacity to attend an academic conference.

Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, is an independent expert reporting to the UN Human Rights Council. Her planned visit to the Philippines last December was called off because she refused to accept Duterte’s conditions.

Recently she 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,” Colville said.

“We condemn this treatment of Ms Callamard and the disrespect it shows to the Human Rights Council that appointed her in the strongest terms,” he added.

Duterte, in the media briefing Tuesday night, reiterated the ill-effects of illegal drugs especially shabu, which he said was according to a study of the World Health Organization, and is in contrast to the claim of Callamard claim and her colleagues that the use of shabu does not produce violent and bizarre behavior.

Told of Colville’s condemnation, Duterte said: “Sabihin mo sa kanya, harapin niya ako dito, p***** i** talaga hihiritan. Binabastos niya tayo (You tell her to face me, s** of a b****. She is disrespecting us.) Here is a report of the United Nations, of which the Human Rights Commission is a part, as well as the World Health Organization.”

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque yesterday said the UN should see past the colorful language of the President, which he said was addressed to his Filipino audience who are used to his “unorthodox” way of making statements.

Roque, who announced he has been appointed concurrent “presidential adviser on human rights,” also said   the country recognizes the concerns of Colville for Callamard but he should consider what Duterte stands for and the values he holds dear, while also looking at how the UN rapporteur had acted over the past months.

“The President’s remarks on Callamard were addressed to a Filipino audience who are used to the Chief Executive’s unorthodox rhetoric…. We therefore hope that spokesperson Colville would also take time to look into the manner on how human rights experts ought to conduct their business with and in States concerned, i.e., in an unbiased and transparent manner free of all political machinations in accordance with their code of conduct and ethics,” he said.

Roque said Callamard is “not a competent and impartial rapporteur” of the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign, does not conduct herself in a manner that befits her office. 

“Lest we forget, she came unannounced to the country in May this year even while the terms of her official visit were still being finalized. And she did so using an event organized by a group that was extremely critical of the administration and presenting herself as a resource person for that event. Her arrogance in going through the back-door not only went against protocol, but is deeply insulting,” he added.

Roque also said Colville should also take into account Duterte’s standing offer to host a global human rights summit which “shows that this administration welcomes disinterested and apolitical human rights experts in the country.”

Colville, in the briefing in Geneva, also hit Burundi officials for threats against its investigators.

He said the UN rights office has written to the Bujumbura government to demand that officials stop “threatening with prosecution” members of a UN Commission of Inquiry that found Burundian officials at the highest level should be held accountable for crimes against humanity, Colville said.

Burundi’s ambassador in New York told the UN General Assembly that the inquiry’s report was biased and politically motivated and threatened to “bring to justice” its authors for defamation and attempted destabilization.

Burundi is an elected member of the 47-member Human Rights Council, the main UN rights forum. – With Reuters

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