‘I will kill you & that’s why UN is here’: Duterte fumes over UN rapporteur’s surprise visit
Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, spoke at a two-day policy forum in Quezon City on Friday.
Callamard is known for her critical position on Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs.’ While not directly referring to the Philippines, she did warn against pursuing “badly thought out, ill-conceived drug policies” that “not only fail to address… drug dependency, drug-related criminality and the drug trade” but “add more problems.”
Although the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that Callamard was not speaking in her official capacity, Philippines officials were quick to make it clear to the rapporteur that she was not welcome.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that by arriving in the country without notifying the authorities, Callamard is sending a “clear signal” that she will push a one-sided opinion of the controversial crusade against drugs, citing her refusal to engage in a public debate on the issue last September. At the time, Manila extended to Callamard an official invitation, which included a list of conditions.
These included a public discussion with President Duterte, in which Callamard would have been required to take an oath and answer three questions. She rejected the offer and called on the government to allow her to visit without any conditions.
Abella argued that Callamard’s response indicated that she “would not be approaching her review of allegations concerning our country objectively or comprehensively.”
Duterte, who has made the war on drugs the focal point of his political program since coming to power, reacted to Callamard’s arrival by restating his position in no uncertain terms.
“And here’s the shocker: I will kill you. I will really kill you. And that’s why the rapporteur of the UN is here, investigating extrajudicial killing,” Duterte said, referring to drug dealers as he was addressing an orthopedic conference in Davao City, as cited by The Philippine Star.
“I told them that once you get involved in drugs I will kill you. I will ambush you, poison you, bomb you, whatever. Steal your wife from you,” the Philippines leader added.
The hardline president has come under heavy criticism for his drug crackdown, which reportedly has resulted in more than 7,000 killings.
Last month, a Philippines lawyer filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing Duterte of committing a “crime against humanity” by condoning and commissioning mass murder.
The allegations were refuted by Abella, who said that while “the so-called extra-judicial killings are not state-sanctioned or state-sponsored,” the only purpose of the lawyer’s complaint is to “undermine the duly constituted government of the Philippines.”