Malacañang disappointed with UN Special Rapporteur’s visit

admin   •   May 6, 2017   •   2885

United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard.

MANILA – United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions and extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard is in the country for academic purposes.

But Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, her “unannounced” arrival is a signal that she is not interested in getting an objective perspective on the anti-drug war of the Duterte administration.

On September 26, 2016, Malacañang, through the office of the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea ,sent a formal invitation for the UN rapporteur.

Malacañang asked Callamard to investigate also the deaths of police who conducted legitimate operations against drug suspects.

The government also insisted on the conditions of President Duterte to let him ask questions to Callamard on why the Philippines is the focus of the investigation of UN while there are other countries in which killings of the innocent and defenseless are rampant.

Abella also said Callamard’s refusal to respond to the Philippine’s invitation implies her lack of interest to conduct a comprehensive investigation on drug related killings in the country.

He also noted that Callamard’s visit coincides with the departure of the Philippines’ senior level delegation’s  travel to Geneva Switzerland to attend the 3rd cycle of the universal period review of the Philippines and issue of human rights.

Meanwhile, Malacañang asked the representatives of the country to the United Nations to take up the said action of Callamard with their United Nations counterparts which Abella said circumvents the UN protocols for such visits.  Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte hits gov’t critics, vows to uphold human rights at UN

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte blasted the critics of his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism, whom he said are using the human rights issue to discredit functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected government.”

In a pre-recorded message aired at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Duterte highlighted the Philippines Anti-Terrorism Law which was passed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure drew criticisms, with several groups claiming this could be used to silence and prosecute political opponents.

“A number of interest groups have weaponized human rights; some well-meaning, others ill-intentioned,” Duterte said in his message.

This is the first time that Duterte participated in the gathering since he became president four years ago.

“They attempt to discredit the functioning institutions and mechanisms of a democratic country and a popularly elected which in its last two years, still enjoy the same widespread approval and support,” he said.

“These detractors pass themselves off as human rights advocates while preying on the most vulnerable humans; even using children as soldiers or human shields in encounters. Even schools are not spared from their malevolence and anti-government propaganda. They hide their misdeeds under the blanket of human rights but the blood oozes through,” he added.

Duterte said his administration remains committed to protecting human rights and continue to take part in “ open dialogue and constructive engagement” with the United Nations.

“But these must be done in full respect of the principles of objectivity, non-interference, non-selectivity, and genuine dialogue. These are the fundamental bases for productive international cooperation on human rights,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran’s Soleimani an ‘unlawful’ killing

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).

The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.

Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.

Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.

The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.

Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

NCRPO chief prepared to let VP Leni join drug busts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 8, 2019

An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-National Capital Region (PDEA-NCR) searches the pockets of suspected illegal drugs pusher ‘Bong’ during a raid on a house in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City, northeast of Manila, Philippines 02 February 2018. Agents of the PDEA conducted the raid in search of an alleged pusher named ‘Bong’. The operation resulted in the arrest of the suspect and discovery of hidden packs of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, after a search in two houses in the area. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief PBGen. Debold Sinas said he is prepared to let Vice President Leni Robredo join drug busts.

“Bakit hindi? Kapag available siya (Why not, if she is available) we will. But of course, she’s the vice president. Importante ang security niya (her security is important),” he said.

Sinas also said they are willing to abide by the instructions of Robredo as the co-chairman of the Inter-agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

During the ICAD meeting on Friday (November 8) Robredo said drug operations should be done in a manner that doesn’t result in senseless killings.

“Iyong sa akin kapag nagkakaroon kasi ng mga senseless killings nadi-diminish iyong mga pagod na binubuhos natin dito (For me when there are senseless killings, it diminishes the work we put in this campaign),” she said.

Sinas also does not want killings however, they cannot guarantee there will be zero casualties in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“Ayaw din namin ng patayan. Kapag kami rin ay tinutukan, una (We also do not want killings. But if a gun is pointed at us, first) we have to defend ourselves also,” Sinas said.

Sinas assures all operations against illegal drugs will still be respectful of human rights and will not violate any laws.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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