Duterte threatens to leave UN for slamming crime war

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to leave the UN after it released a report calling for an end to extra-judicial killings during his crackdown on drugs.
People standing behind a police line at the scene of a police operation against illegal drugs that resulted in the killing of an alleged drug dealer in Manila last Friday.
PRESIDENT RODRIGODUTERTE (above), challenging theUNspecial rapporteuronsummary executions Agnes Callamard to visit the Philippines to look into the deaths and see that lawmen are also being killed in his anti-crime drive.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
People standing behind a police line at the scene of a police operation against illegal drugs that resulted in the killing of an alleged drug dealer in Manila last Friday.
People standing behind a police line at the scene of a police operation against illegal drugs that resulted in the killing of an alleged drug dealer in Manila last Friday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

He showers abuse on global body for seeking end to extrajudicial killings in anti-crime push

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has derided the United Nations as useless and threatened to leave the global body as he unleashed a torrent of abuse in response to calls from UN human rights campaigners for him to end extrajudicial killings that have blighted his war on crime.

"You (the UN) are inutile. If you are really true to your mandate, you could have stopped all these wars and killings?" said Mr Duterte in a rambling, two-hour news conference that began at 1am on Sunday.

"When was the United Nations ever really united? They cannot control America. They cannot control Russia. They cannot control the bombings…

"The problem (with the UN) is that it allows a war to start, but does not know how to end it," he said, referring to conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

Mr Duterte accused the UN of "interfering in the sovereignty" of the Philippines, when it criticised his anti-crime drive.

CHALLENGE TO U.N. OFFICIAL

You law experts of the United Nations, come here and face me and make the accusations… I will show you the statistics, and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count.

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE, challenging the UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard to visit the Philippines to look into the deaths and see that lawmen are also being killed in his anti-crime drive.

In June, UN chief Ban Ki Moon condemned Mr Duterte for allowing extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users, calling them "illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms".

National police chief Ronald de la Rosa said last week that more than 1,000 suspected drug peddlers and addicts have been killed, by lawmen or unnamed vigilantes, since Mr Duterte took office on June 30.

At his press conference in his home city of Davao, Mr Duterte said he did not hear the UN expressing the same outrage over the police shootings of blacks in the US as it had over the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

"You shoot a black there (in the US) dead. What is that? Is that not appalling? I do not read (about) anybody from that stupid body complaining about the stench there of death," he said.

He then challenged the UN special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard to meet him, so he can "prove to the world that you are a very stupid expert".

"You law experts of the United Nations, come here and face me and make the accusations… I will show you the statistics, and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count," he said.

He complained that UN officials failed to appreciate the depth of the "drug pandemic" in the Philippines.

"They are swayed by NGOs, newspaper clippings and critics. All they do is read editorials," he said.

On Thursday, Ms Callamard said "claims to fight the illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings".

A day later, she tweeted "invitation accepted" after Mr Duterte's legal counsel Salvador Panelo asked her to see for herself the situation on the ground.

But in a statement yesterday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Philippines "has not extended any invitation to anybody, nor the UN, to look into its national affairs".

Mr Duterte said he felt disrespected that the UN would issue statements without seeing him first.

"You do not just go out and give a s****ing statement against a country… You have fallen short of the protocol needed for respect, and you want me to respect you?" he said.

The Philippines might as well leave the UN, he said, adding that he may even try to set up a rival international organisation.

"I would invite everybody. I would invite maybe China, the African (nations)," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'Duterte threatens to leave UN for slamming crime war'. Print Edition | Subscribe