Duterte wants Philippines to host ‘world summit on human rights’

Pia Ranada
'All the victims of human rights violation are invited to come and air their gripe or grievances,' says the Philippine president

TALKING HUMAN RIGHTS. President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at his event with Filipinos based in Vietnam on November 9, 2017. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – Sarcastic or serious?

President Rodrigo Duterte, on Thursday, November 9, declared he wants the Philippines to host a “world summit on human rights” so that alleged rights violations by other governments, not just his, could be discussed.

“We should call a summit. I will volunteer to make the Philippines the venue,” he said on Thursday night, in an interview with reporters in Da Nang, Vietnam.

“World summit on human rights. You’ll see, it will all come out. And all the victims of human rights violation are invited to come and air their gripe or grievances,” he added. (READ: The deafening silence of ASEAN on human rights violations)

Asked if he was serious about holding the summit, Duterte said he would “consult first the heads of states.”

He voiced his new idea after complaining about how critics seem to zero in on the extrajudicial killings being linked to his drug war instead of also condemning human rights violations perpetrated by other countries.

He specified the bombings of schools and civilians in the Middle East by the governments of the United States, France, and Russia.

“Bakit ako lang? (Why just me?) There are so many violations of human rights, including by the United States, including the continuous bombing in the Middle East killing civilians. Pati mga bata, eskuwelahan nila (Even the kids, and their schools),” said Duterte.

In the Philippine drug war, police have said around 3,900 drug suspects were killed in police operations, supposedly because they fought back.

Asked if he would request the United Nations to monitor his summit, Duterte said he prefers a “panel of lawyers” to be present.

“I’m more comfortable with a panel of lawyers. Because they will understand immediately the legal implications,” he said, adding that he might also invite “experts in the science of medicine” and the “destruction of the human body.” 

Duterte has often deflected foreign criticism of his drug war by pointing out that foreign governments like the US have committed grave human rights violations like the massacre of Muslim rebels in Sulu by American soldiers in the early 20th century or the shooting by white policemen of African Americans. 

During the media interview, he also again made special mention of UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard. He slammed her for supposedly not commenting on “so many killings, the victims of bombs and of violence there in the Middle East.” 

Earlier that day, he had threatened to slap Callamard if she probes his drug war. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.