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MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr on Tuesday, November 29, said the Philippines has sent a “very strong” protest note against a United Nations (UN) envoy who warned the Philippines over human rights abuses.
David Scheffer, the UN secretary-general’s envoy to a UN-backed court in Cambodia, had said that recent life sentences meted out on two ex-Khmer Rouge leaders should serve as a warning to the Philippines.
Yasay told reporters on Tuesday: “I have already authorized the issuance of a very strong protest note verbale against what I think is an irresponsible statement of that official who is, as I understand, attached to the Office of the Secretary General.”
Yasay said the note verbale will be handed by the Philippines’ permanent representative to the UN “soon.”
“I think if I’m not mistaken, it has already been dispatched to New York, and that should be on its way to the UN soon, within the next few days, hopefully within the week,” the Philippines’ top diplomat said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement, “Mr Scheffer’s remarks are irresponsible and alarming since these are directed at the leadership of a democratic country with a functioning criminal justice system.”
“His remarks are unjustified and without basis,” the DFA added.
The DFA issued this statement after Scheffer, following the verdict in Cambodia last week, said the decision showed that world leaders can be held accountable for atrocities.
“Leaders in the Philippines or in South Sudan or in Sudan or in the Central African Republic or in Syria or among [ISIS] in Syria and Iraq should all take note that what happened today in this courtroom ultimately can reach their domain because international justice is not backing down,” Scheffer said.
The administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has faced criticism both here and abroad for its anti-drug campaign. More than 5,600 deaths have been linked to the war on drugs since July 1. – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com