THE United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings (EJKs) wants the Philippine government to allow her to conduct an unrestricted investigation of alleged summary executions in the country.
This was basically the content of the response of Agnes Callamard to an invitation extended by the Office of the President for her to probe the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs of the Duterte administration.
According to Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) already received the response of the UN special rapporteur to the invitation of Malacañang including her own conditions.
Aquino made the disclosure during resumption of Senate plenary deliberations on the proposed 2017 national budget on Wednesday night when he defended the P16.59-billion budget of the DFA for next year.
Sen. Leila de Lima asked Aquino about the status of the invitation to the UN special rapporteur and if there is already confirmation that the United Nations indeed received it.
“The status is that the President [Rodrigo Duterte] actually issued an invitation to the UN special rapporteur to visit the Philippines. However, in the invitation letter, there were some conditions set. She [Callamard] has responded already with her own conditions and now an inter-agency body has been created to discuss each of the party’s conditions,” Aquino told de Lima.
De Lima then asked Aquino if he could disclose the conditions imposed by the Philippine government and the conditions requested or made by the UN, to which Aquino replied: “The President insisted on a public debate between himself and the [UN rapporteur] as one of the conditions.”
Malacañang, in its invitation sent to UN last month, included additional conditions for the UN special rapporteur during the country visit like public presentation in the Philippines of her findings and opportunity for the President to publicly ask questions and present additional information or clarification in the presence of the special rapporteur and the media.
Aquino said Callamard has not replied to the conditions set by the President but she did reply to the invitation with her own list of conditions.
Among the conditions set by the UN special rapporteur are freedom of movement in the whole country, including facilitation of transport, including restricted areas; freedom of inquiry with regard to access to all prisons, detention centers and places of interrogation; contacts with central and local authorities, representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs), private institutions and the media; as well as confidential and unsupervised contact with witnesses and other private persons, including persons deprived of their liberty considered necessary to fulfill the mandate of her job.
Cullamard is also demanding full access to all documentary materials relevant to the mandate; the government assurance that persons, whether officials or private individuals who have been in contact with her will not, as a result, suffer threats or punishment or be subjected to judicial proceedings; and appropriate security arrangements without, however, restricting the freedom of movement of inquiry referred to above.