United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein
MANILA, Philippines —The statement made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein against President Rodrigo Duterte was an insult to the Philippines.
This was the response of the Malacañang to Al-Hussein’s suggestion that President Duterte needs to have a psychiatric evaluation because of his attacks against the UN special rapporteurs.
The UN human rights chief particularly pointed out the inclusion of UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Corpuz in the petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to declare her as a terrorist for her alleged connection with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) along with 600 other names.
“This is absolutely disgraceful that the president of a country could speak in this way using the foulness of language against a rapporteur that is highly respected and really makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation,” said the UN high commissioner.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this statement of the UN official is a disrespect to all countries whose leaders were appointed due to the vote of the people.
“And so my message to the high commissioner is, we respect our president in this country because we gave him a democratic mandate to lead. I would hope that although you do not have the same democratic system in your home country of Jordan, you will respect the kind of democracy that we have in the Philippines. Your language was not just an insult to the Philippines and the Filipino people, it is an insult to all countries who have democratically-elected their heads of state,” said the presidential spokesperson.
Meanwhile, according to Roque, Corpuz should be the one to prove to the court that she is not involved with so-called terrorists not just in the Philippines but even in other countries.
“I will assure you that this has nothing to do with her mandate. The CPP-NPA, I reiterate, has already been declared a terrorist organization in the US and in Europe. So the declaration that the CPP-NPA is such, is only a reiteration of prior clarifications and the issue now is: is the special rapporteur in any way identified with the CPP-NPA? Let her adduce evidence that she’s not,” said Roque.
According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Al-Hussein went overboard with his statement and it is an insult to the leaders of member-state without giving them due process.
The UN human rights chief should have first gathered evidence on why Corpuz is included in the DOJ’s petition. In the end, Cayetano said that it is possible that Al-Hussein does not know that he is being used by parties who wish to destroy the Duterte administration. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue