MANILA – Two United States lawmakers have urged US President Donald Trump to raise concerns over the Philippines’ war on drugs with President Rodrigo Duterte when the two leaders meet in Manila next week during a regional forum.
Trump and Duterte are set to meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit next week, and US Representatives Randy Hultgren and James McGovern want the US leader to use this chance to “impress upon President Duterte the United States’ profound concern over reported extra-judicial killings associated with the Philippine government’s ‘war on drugs.’”
“Human rights are fundamental. Every government should afford their citizens the protection and due process of the law. The Philippines is a valuable ally of the United States and major recipient of US aid,” said the two lawmakers, who are members of the US Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
“For these reasons, it is paramount that human rights violations not be the consequences of the Philippines’ ‘war on drugs.’ It is the obligation of the United States to advocate for and defend those human rights as set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Hultgren and McGovern said the US values its strategic partnership with the Philippines, especially in light of the tensions in the Korean Peninsula and Manila’s sea dispute with Washington’s regional rival, Beijing.
“At the same time, we believe the United States must remain a champion of human rights, due process, and the rule of law,” they said.
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in July conducted a hearing into the Philippines’ war on drugs, where human rights organizations urged the Philippine government to uphold the rule of law and respect human rights in its campaign.
Before leaving for Vietnam Wednesday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Duterte said he would not accept lecturing on human rights from Trump or any other world leader.
“Lay off. That’s not your business. That is my business. I take care of my country and I will nurture my country to help,” Duterte said.
The administration has many times defended the war on drugs, saying it does not condone police abuses nor sanction summary killings.