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MANILA, Philippines – Agnes Callamard, United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on summary executions is in town.
She was spotted at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Commission on Human Rights on Thursday, May 4. She refused to grant interviews to the media.
President Rodrigo Duterte spoke of her during his speech Thursday afternoon in Davao City in front of doctors. He said the reason why she is here is to investigate extrajudicial killings.
Duterte had previously challenged her to debate with him on extrajudicial killings related to his war on drugs. She rejected it and instead said she preferred a joint press conference with him.
“Such a format would exclude debate between us, but allow the President to make immediately public his initial reactions to my preliminary findings should he so choose, and for me to uphold the principles that must guide my mission,” Callamard said in December 2016.
The Office of the President on September 28, 2016 released a letter inviting Callamard to investigate the spate of killings linked to the Duterte administration’s drug war after she expressed concern about the deaths.
She welcomed the invitation: “I welcome the invitation from the government assuming this includes essential guarantees (freedom of inquiry and movement, and non-retaliation), and enables engagement with the authorities and other key actors and stakeholders concerned with the recent wave of alleged extrajudicial executions,”
The invitation, however, came with conditions such as allowing Duterte “to propound his own questions” to Callamard, according to the letter signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
A UN committee in October urged the Philippines to stop extrajudicial killings in the country, and warned that declarations by high-ranking officials could “legitimize” violence against drug users. – with reports by Jodesz Gavilan, Pia Ranada, Paterno Esmaquel/Rappler.com