MANILA (UPDATED) – The United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions is in the Philippines, but only for an "academic purpose," according to Commission Human Rights (CHR) chair Chito Gascon.
Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, on Thursday attended the CHR's 30th anniversary celebration at the agency’s central office in Quezon City.
According to Gascon, he was not aware of Callamard’s visit. However, he clarified that her presence in the country does not signify any official inquiry—she is here to attend a drug policy forum co-sponsored by the CHR and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), a human rights group.
The CHR chief said he will schedule a meeting with Callamard.
Callamard did not grant any interviews, but FLAG confirmed that she will attend a forum at the University of the Philippines-Diliman on Friday and Saturday.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech during the opening ceremony of an orthopedic convention in Davao City that he thought Callamard was in the country to investigate drug-related deaths.
"That’s why the rapporteur of the UN is here, investigating extrajudicial killing," he said, while recalling his controversial remarks that have been criticized by rights advocates and international bodies such as the EU, the US government, and the UN.
Callamard has expressed interest in visiting the Philippines to investigate drug-related killings.
The government set conditions for her visit, which the Palace said will be enforced for any international bodies who "come in and interfere with its domestic affairs."
Callamard said these conditions violated their code of conduct and procedures.
Representatives from Australia, Spain, UN, and the European Union attended the CHR’s anniversary fete. –with reports from Mike Navallo and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News