NUMEROUS killings and a supposed human rights crisis in the Philippines have made the country one of the worst places in the world even without an armed conflict, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard has claimed.
Callamard, who is seeking an investigation into drug-related killings in the country, said the Philippine government had created multiple human rights crises.
“As far as my mandate is concerned, my work on killings is concerned, the Philippines is standing out as one of the worst places outside an armed conflict situation because of the scale of the killings, and also because the human rights crisis is multifold,” Callamard said in an interview by Bloomberg TV Philippines last week.
The crisis is also a health issue, she said, citing overcrowded jails and penitentiaries.
Asked if President Rodrigo Duterte could be held liable under international law for murder and or inciting violence, Callamard said there is a “regime of liability” attached to the acts and words of the President.
Incitement to violence is prohibited under international law but whether or not the President was inciting violence, “there is currently an atmosphere and culture around the killings that deny the people being killed their humanity.”
Callamard said the government had portrayed those being killed as drug pushers and drug addicts and not as fathers, sons and people who had dreams.
“This is so dangerous for the nature and for the culture altogether. Let’s remember who those individuals are and let’s give them the due process that they are entitled to as a Filipino citizen,” she pointed out.
Callamard is unable to conduct her investigation into the spate of killings of drug suspects in the country because of her refusal to meet the conditions set by the Philippine government. Among the conditions set by Malacañang is a public debate between Callamard and the President before the media.
A German official last week called on the government to allow Callamard in without conditions.
Callamard said: “Your President must listen to what we have to say. Your President must stop the war on drugs,” she added.