• Chinese official defends Duterte vs UN rights chief


    MALACAÑANG on Tuesday lauded the Chinese Foreign Ministry after its spokesman defended President Rodrigo Duterte from the strong words of the United Nations (UN) high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

    The spokesman, Lu Kang, said on Monday Duterte had made “positive efforts” to combat drug-related crimes as well as terrorism, and improve the national economy and the livelihood of Filipinos since assuming office in 2016.

    “Anyone without bias can see that President Duterte has made positive efforts since assuming office to combat drug-related crimes as well as terrorism, develop the national economy, and improve people’s livelihood, which have effectively protected and promoted the Philippine people’s fundamental rights to security and development.

    The achievements made by the Philippine government led by President Duterte on these fronts have won great approval and extensive support among the Philippine people,” Lu told reporters during a regular a ministry news conference in Beijing.

    “Relevant sides of the international community, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, shall respect the sovereignty of the Philippines and the will of its people, view the outcomes of the Philippines’ fight against drug and terrorism in a comprehensive, unbiased and objective way, and support its efforts to move forward its human rights cause in light of its national conditions,” he said.

    “As an agency of the UN, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to fulfill its duties within the framework set out by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.”

    Zeid said on Friday in Geneva that Duterte should submit himself to psychiatric evaluation after including UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on the list of 600 individuals to be declared as terrorists.

    Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in a news briefing: “I think that would be the correct response of any member state of the United Nations. I reiterate the United Nations is an organization consisting of states and as such all UN officials cannot deal with elected leaders of member-nations in a manner that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights did.”

    Roque commended Lu’s statement that the UN should support the Philippines in its bid to promote its own human rights cause in accordance with its own national conditions.

    “[What Lu said] basically should be the correct stand of all states. The response of China is correct and this is not just because we are friends with China but because that is really the objective of the United Nations,” Roque said.

    On March 1, Duterte ordered the military to keep silent about the government’s drug war if asked by the UN human rights investigators.

    This drew the ire of the opposition, with Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao saying that this order only confirmed the human rights violations being done by authorities.

    Zeid, a Jordanian prince and career diplomat, deplored the statement of Duterte in a speech on March 7.

    “The [Philippine] Government has a duty to uphold human rights and to engage with persons appointed by this Council,” Zeid said.

    On Saturday, Duterte said in Zamboanga City that policemen also had the right to remain silent under the Constitution.

    He also threatened, in jest, to feed UN investigators to crocodiles.

    “If the idiots went here… Are there crocodiles here? Those eating people. I will throw these sons of b*****s there,” Duterte said.


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