DAVAO (Philippines) • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday drew a parallel between his deadly crime war and Adolf Hitler's massacre of Jews, saying he was "happy to slaughter" millions of drug addicts.
Mr Duterte also attacked the United States and the European Union for "hypocrisy" in criticising his anti-drug crackdown, in which more than 3,000 people have been killed since he took office three months ago. "Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them," Mr Duterte said in his home town of Davao after returning from a visit to Vietnam.
"If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have..." he said, pausing and pointing to himself. He said he wanted to get rid of the drug problem and "save the next generation from perdition".
Mr Duterte, 71, won the elections in May in a landslide after pledging to wipe out drugs in society, vowing an unprecedented crime war in which 100,000 people would die.
The ensuing violence has attracted a barrage of criticism from Western governments and human rights groups, which have warned of widespread extra-judicial killings.
HAPPY TO SLAUGHTER ADDICTS
Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them.
PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE, (above) pictured delivering a speech at the Davao International Airport terminal building yesterday.
But Mr Duterte has reacted defiantly, and often with abusive language, to all criticism. In a rambling speech yesterday morning, Mr Duterte said he was under threat of being brought before an international court for genocide, but insisted that he was breaking no laws in the Philippines.
He said he was "portrayed or pictured to be... a cousin of Hitler", but that his critics did not "even bother to find out, to investigate" the situation in the country. The idea that he could "be facing... even the international court for genocide" is "foolish", he added.
He also attacked the European Union and the United States for alleged inaction on the migrant crisis emanating from the Middle East.
"You - US, EU. You can call me anything. But I was never into or I am never into hypocrisy like you," he said. "There are migrants escaping from the Middle East. You allow them to rot and then you're worried about the death of about 1,000, 2,000, 3,000?"
Reacting to criticism by US senators Patrick Leahy and Benjamin Cardin, Mr Duterte said: "Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world. Do not be the policeman because you do not have the eligibility to do that in my country."
His comments were quickly condemned by Jewish groups. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, head of the US Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Digital Terrorism and Hate project, called them "outrageous".
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS