UN lists rapporteurs to probe rights abuses

MALACAÑANG on Thursday welcomed the United Nations’ offer to provide the Philippines a list of special rapporteurs that will probe the government’s war on drugs in which thousands were said to have been killed―but not Agnes Callamard.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Philippines welcomed any investigation provided the UN sent a “credible, objective and unbiased” rapporteur who was also “an authority in the field that they seek to investigate,” but not Callamard.

He said Callamard, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, did not fit that description.

He said UN Secretary General António Guterres and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had already had a communication over the matter.

“I have already withdrawn my plan to recommend a rapporteur to the President, and we are just  awaiting the list of possible names to be given by the UN Secretary General,” Roque said.

Human rights groups claim that more than 4,000 Filipinos have been killed by the police during the war on drugs, and possibly hundreds and thousands more by unidentified armed men.

Roque also responded to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s comment criticizing Duterte’s order to the police to ignore any human rights probe. 

“My reply to His Excellency the Prince of Jordan is it’s a two-way street,” Roque said. 

“The entire human rights mechanism of the UN is built around sovereignty and it will not work if rapporteurs become untrustworthy as far as sovereign states are concerned.”

Roque also said it was the Philippines’ prerogative to choose which special rapporteur could visit the Philippines for an investigation.

He said Duterte was open to an investigation by the UN except it should not be done by Callamard, who allegedly had already reached a conclusion without conducting a ground investigation. 

Topics: Malacañang , United Nations , Philippines , special rapporteurs , Agnes Callamard , Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque
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