DFA open to address US’ human rights concerns
While saying “no country has a perfect human rights situation,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) still welcomed on Friday the US’ top diplomat’s plan to raise his country’s human rights concerns in the Philippines in a possible meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte this week.
The DFA said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Manila is an “opportunity” to address the US’ human rights concerns in the Philippines.
“We share the belief that no country has a perfect human rights situation. We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” the DFA said in a statement.
“We understand that it is part of their duty as government officials to talk about human rights, not only with the Philippines but with the rest of the world, because they are accountable to their Congress and their press as they advance their values and interests,” it added.
Human rights activists in the Philippines and abroad have expressed urgent concerns over the government’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs. The campaign has killed around 4,000 suspected drug criminals since July last year, according to the Philippine National Police.
“Discussions on the issue of human rights are always included in our engagements with foreign governments, in particular with Western democracies,” the DFA said.
Tillerson, along with other senior US State Department officials, will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum to discuss with their counterparts wide-ranging issues, including the ongoing battle in Marawi City, global threats of terrorism, and increasing Philippine-US economic and people-to-people engagement.
“These discussions are all aimed at strengthening the old friendship between the two countries,” DFA said. IDL
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