Trudeau 'bragged' about raising human rights concerns to Duterte: analyst

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2017 05:36 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2017 05:44 PM

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MANILA - Any host-leader would be offended by the seeming boasting of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he raised human rights concerns to President Rodrigo Duterte, an analyst said Wednesday.

"There’s nothing wrong per se about raising human rights, but to brag about it, I think he (Trudeau) was playing up to the Canadian audience," Manila's former ambassador to the ASEAN Wilfrido Villacorta told ANC.

"He should have said, ‘I have raised the matter with the President.’ Period. But he kept on talking. Of course, any host-leader would feel offended. This is intervention," he said.

Trudeau had said Duterte was "receptive" when he raised concerns over "human rights, rule of law and extrajudicial killings" on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, but the Philippine leader said he took the action as a "personal and official insult."

Duterte has drawn criticism from international groups and foreign governments over his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs.

Police data say 3,800 drug suspects have been killed for putting up violent resistance during legitimate operations, but there has been no recorded extrajudicial killing under the administration.

Trudeau said it was expected of Canada to bring up "strong and firm discussions on human rights and rule of law around the world."

During his Manila visit, Trudeau also had an "extended conversation" with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been lambasted by rights groups for failing to speak up for the Rohingya or condemn festering anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.

But ASEAN, by nature, is not a problem-solving organization, said Villacorta.

"[It] is meant to manage the problem so that it doesn’t become worse; to resolve conflicts through peaceful means," he said.

"Whether you’re talking about the Rohingya question, the EJK supposedly, or the South China Sea, this is not the priority of ASEAN," he added.

Manila had hosted the annual series of meetings of the 10-member bloc, where a landmark treaty to protect the rights of migrant workers was signed.

A draft of the statement to be issued after the summit, however, made no mention of the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar's Rakhine state following a military crackdown.