Callamard an ‘incompetent, biased’ rapporteur on drug war, says Palace
Malacañang on Wednesday said United Nations (UN)’s Agnes Callamard was an incompetent and biased rapporteur to probe the alleged human rights violations and extrajudicial killings linked to the country’s war on drugs.
“Ms Callamard, we reiterate, is not a competent and [not] impartial rapporteur on our anti-drug campaign. The way she conducted herself does not befit her office,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque’s statement came after Rupert Colville, spokesperson of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for threatening to slap Callamard if she probes Duterte over extrajudicial killings.
But Roque said this was only part of the President’s “colorful language.”
“We note the concerns of Spokesperson Rupert Colville of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, however, he should do well not to judge the colorful language the President is known for, but by what he stands for and the values he holds dear,” he said.
He said Duterte’s remarks on Callamard “were addressed to a Filipino audience who are used to the Chief Executive’s unorthodox rhetoric.”
Roque then said that Callamard was not a fair rapporteur to probe the alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines’ war on drugs.
The Palace official also again criticized Callamard’s visit to the Philippines last May.
“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,” he said.
“Her arrogance in going through the back-door not only went against protocol, but is deeply insulting,” he added.
Roque then urged Calville to look into the manner how human rights experts conduct their probe in certain countries and ensure they do it without bias.
“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.
President Duterte’s standing offer to host a Global Human Rights Summit, he said, showed that this administration “welcomes disinterested and apolitical human rights experts in the country.”
“We believe there must be a venue for dialogue where human rights, given the wide array of rights it covers, can be discussed from a global perspective and not from the view of politicized individuals,” he said.
Roque, who was recently as Presidential Adviser on Human Rights concurrent with his being the Presidential Spokesperson, assured the public that he would “take steps to ensure that the Philippines discharges its obligations in protecting and promoting human rights, especially the right to life.” /je
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