CANADIAN Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on the Philippines to address the drug war killings and the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to address human rights violations confronting the region such as the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
In a news conference on the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit on Tuesday, Trudeau stressed that countries should expect Canada to tackle the issue of human rights head on since it is what Canada has always been doing.
“I have told President Duterte that we are concerned about human rights [situation]and the extrajudicial killings, and we have impressed upon him the importance of rule of law, offered our support, as a friend, on how Canada can help with that [restoration of law and order],” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said raising human rights issues was not about being righteous but finding ways for constructive engagement.
“Countries around the world would always hear about human rights from Canada. That is not to say that we are perfect. We also had indigenous peoples who have been neglected, mistreated for decades, if not centuries. But we know that talking about human rights is a path forward,” Trudeau said.
“Discussions on human rights should be honest and frank, and it has been done. There is a high expectation on us that we must protect human rights and rule of law based on our experience. There are those where we have succeeded, where we have failed, but the best practice is to move along,” Trudeau added.
Published reports have placed the number of extrajudicial killings as a result of the drug war between 7,000 and 13,000.
The controversy over the Rohingyas started when Rohingya militants killed at least 30 policemen in August. Military clearing operations to flush out the rebels in the Rakhine State where majority of the Rohingyas live have forced about 500,000 residents to flee their homes. These operations include burning homes, rape, and murder.
There are at least one million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in September that the violence suffered by the Rohingyas under Myanmar’s state forces was a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.