Terms for Callamard visit remain, says DFA
The Philippines rejected Thursday an appeal to lift conditions set by President Duterte to allow the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings to visit the country and investigate mounting drug related deaths here.
Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said discussions were ongoing on the request of special rapporteur Agnes Callamard to visit, but that President Duterte has not softened his stand.
President Duterte has said he would allow Callamard to visit if she agreed to a public debate with him and that he be allowed to grill her. He also asked that the UN representative to take an oath to confirm her intention to be truthful.
“Well, I think the conditions set by the President are still standing. Until and unless she agrees to these conditions, I don’t think the visit will push through,” Jose told a press briefing in Malacañang.
“I think discussions are ongoing in Geneva and I think we reiterate the conditions set by the Philippine government,” he added.
Callamard urged the government in December to lift the restrictions, saying the conditions ran counter to the terms of reference and code of conduct for rapporteurs. But Jose said a compromise was unlikely.
Callamard has said that the code of conduct for special rapporteurs state that she should not seek or accept any instructions from any government or other actor.
She has however suggested that she give a private debriefing to be followed by a joint press conference with Mr. Duterte.
The government has denied that state forces were behind more than half of the 8,000 deaths in the drug war, and instead blamed competing syndicates behind some of the murders.
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