Senior diplomats air concern about President’s remarks
TWO SENIOR diplomats yesterday raised concern about President Duterte’s threat to pull the Philippines out of the United Nations, saying his language should reflect the ideals of the people he represents.
One of the diplomats, who requested anonymity, said the Philippines was a key player in the United Nations and a signatory to major UN conventions on human rights.
Under the Constitution, crime suspects are entitled to due process and “should not be killed outright,” she said.
“The President is a lawyer by profession. He should know the legal procedures,” she said. “President Duterte, thus, should behave as a statesman and not [as a thug].”
She said the Philippines had signed and ratified major UN conventions on human rights, including the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families.
“The only UN convention that we have not ratified is the UN Convention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances,” she said.
Asked for comment on Mr. Duterte’s threat, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson, Charles Jose, said, “We have no statement at this time.”
The diplomat said the systematic killing of people allegedly involved in drugs constituted crime against humanity under the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
More than 1,500 drug suspects have been killed by police and vigilantes since Mr. Duterte assumed office on June 30.
The ICC, known as a court of last resort, handles genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Philippines is a signatory to the statute, and there is no immunity for presidents there.
“President Duterte should be reminded that the Philippines signed and ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC that punishes crimes against humanity,” the diplomat said.
She also said the Philippines had vigorously pushed for the establishment of Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights as a core part of the Asean Charter that punishes rights abuses in countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The second senior trade diplomat, who also requested anonymity, said the Philippines could lose the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+).
She warned that the extrajudicial killings in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs could lead to withdrawal of the trade preferences by the European Union.
The diplomat said assistance to the Philippines from international partners like the European Union covered peace, security and trade.
She said the GSP+ trade preferences were anchored on the Philippines’ adherence to human rights and social justice.
The European Union reviews the Philippines’ performance in promoting human rights and gives preference to Philippine products to enter the 28 EU countries without tariffs, she said.
The diplomat said the Philippines would “definitely lose this privilege because of the summary killings of drug suspects of the Duterte administration.”
“We hope … [that whenever President Duterte] speaks on behalf of his people, he will refer to their highest ideals with a language that best reflects those ideals,” she said.
The diplomat said the GSP+ was expected to create about 270,000 jobs in the next five years because of ease of access of Philippine products into the EU market under 6,274 tariff lines.
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