MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he wants the Philippines to host an international summit on human rights so that issues in other countries on the matter would also be discussed.
Speaking to reporters in Vietnam, Duterte lamented that other nations seemed to “zero in” on him when it comes to human rights issues in connection with his war on drugs.
“We should have a summit only on human rights. But we should call all,” Duterte told reporters in Da Nang, Vietnam, where he is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
“[Do] not zero in on me. Bakit ako lang? There are so many violations of human rights, including sa United States, including the continuous bombing in the Middle East killing civilians. Pati mga bata, eskuwelahan nila,” he added.
Asked to clarify if he was serious about his plan, Duterte said: “I will consult first with the heads of state.”
Drawing criticism from international organizations and foreign governments, the Duterte administration has many times defended the war on drugs, saying it does not condone police abuses nor sanction summary killings.
The government has said over 3,800 were killed in legitimate anti-illegal drug operations, while human rights groups peg the number of deaths at over 13,000.
Duterte recently scaled back his campaign against illegal drugs, tapping the smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead government body to enforce the campaign and relegating the police force to a supporting role.
This prompted the Philippine National Police to terminate its house-to-house anti-drug operation "Oplan Tokhang" (knock and plead).