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Human Rights Investigators Should Be Fed to Crocodiles — Philippine President Duterte

13 Marcha 2018

This was the call made by China as it urged the international community, particularly the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to "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".

"We welcome special rapporteurs, provided they be impartial, neutral, and willing to investigate rather than those already having conclusions", Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Monday.

"Instead of attacking the messenger, states and other stakeholders should engage and address the human rights concerns raised by mandate-holders", he said in Geneva.

Following the inclusion of a UN special rapporteur on a terrorist watchlist released by the Philippine Supreme Court, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called Duterte's behaviour "absolutely disgraceful" and said he needed to submit himself for "psychiatric evaluation". "Therefore, the Government of the Philippines has a duty under the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders to guarantee her right to promote and to strive for the realization of human rights".

To prevent the kind of environmental damage that has alarmed activists, the Philippine government has put restrictions on some forms of mining.

Mr Duterte has been regularly venting his fury at the Maoists and considers them as much of a security threat as the domestic Islamist militant groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State. She has received foreign support for her outspokenness about several unsolved murders of indigenous leaders involved in environmental or land issues in the Philippines.

Zeid said Duterte's attacks against UN special rapporteurs cannot go unanswered and the UN Human Rights Council must take a position.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein speaks in Guatemala City on November 17, 2017. Duterte's administration remains popular among Philippine citizens, and it has big plans for the country's economy, seeking hefty Chinese investment in infrastructure, some of which could cut through areas where the NPA is active.

He also threatened, in jest, to feed UN investigators to crocodiles. "If you investigate me, I'll slap you", Duterte said at the time, according to Rappler online news website. "Throw those sons of bitches to them", he sneered.

There was no basis for the charge of terrorism, said Mr Sison, who was a mentor of Mr Duterte when he was at university, although the two are now bitter rivals.

Also on the list were four former Catholic priests and former congressman Satur Ocampo, who said he would challenge any "terrorist" label.

Human Rights Investigators Should Be Fed to Crocodiles — Philippine President Duterte