Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Palace still open to probe despite UN High Commissioner's remarks vs Duterte

Palace still open to probe despite UN High Commissioner's remarks vs Duterte

The angry comments came after the Duterte government included the name of a United Nations indigenous rights rapporteur on a list of Communist guerrillas that it wants to formally declare as terrorists.

"Relevant sides of the global community, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, shall 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", China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday in a press briefing in Beijing.

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the UN Human Rights Council must take a position", Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said, after Duterte's government sought to get a UN investigator, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests declared as "terrorists".

"These attacks can not go unanswered".

A senior Malacanang Palace official defended the inclusion of a United Nations rapporteur, a Filipino citizen, in the list of 600 alleged communist leaders and members whom the government wanted to be declared as "terrorists" by the court.

Adding pressure on Manila, in February, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva raised the country's human rights record with Iceland Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson calling on the Philippines to accept the visit of a UN Special Rapporteur.

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"This is absolutely disgraceful that a president of a country can speak in this way, using the foulest of language against a rapporteur that's highly respected".

The outspoken Philippine leader, who is accused of stoking the killings with inflammatory statements, has taken issue over the Philippines becoming the first southeast Asian nation put under a preliminary examination by the ICC prosecutor.

By declaring groups and individuals terrorists, the Government would be able to monitor them more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures.

"Rather than attacking human rights bodies and human rights defenders, we urge the government to display honest commitment to transparency and the rule of law by allowing unhampered investigations to take place", the commission said.

The woman in question - Vicky Tauli-Corpuz says she now fears for her safety. Since then, Duterte has openly vented his fury at the group, saying he considers them a risk to national security on the same level as pro-Islamic State militants and telling the military to "shoot women (rebels) in the vagina". The petition specifically named the top 18 leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

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