UN envoy hit for including PH among rights abusers
The Philippine government on Tuesday strongly deplored a statement by a UN envoy who said the life sentence affirmed recently for two former Khmer Rouge leaders accused of crimes against humanity should serve as a warning to the country.
David Scheffer, the UN Special Expert on UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, said last week that human rights abusers should “take note” of the verdict on Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan. He named the Philippines alongside South Sudan, Sudan, Central African Republic, Syria, North Korea and the Islamic State group.
“Mr. Scheffer’s remarks are irresponsible and alarming since these are directed at the leadership of a democratic country with a functioning criminal justice system fully committed to respect human rights. As such, his remarks are unjustified and without basis,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.
“The Filipino people continue to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms. The government’s campaign against crime and corruption is being waged precisely for the protection of its people and the continued enjoyment of their right to peace, security and fundamental freedoms,” the DFA added.
The two Khmer Rouge leaders were among those found responsible for the deaths of close to two million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979. Nuon Chea was the chief ideologist and was second in command to Khmer Rouge chieftain Pol Pot. Khieu Samphan was the head of state during the Cambodian genocide and was considered one of the most powerful Khmer Rouge officials.—JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE
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