Duterte on Callamard: 'Binabastos niya tayo'
MANILA - The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called out President Rodrigo Duterte for his threats against special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
The Commissioner's spokesperson Rupert Colville said the international body "deplores" Duterte's insults and threats of physical violence against Callamard, citing the President's most recent threat to slap the rapporteur.
"The High Commissioner also deplores the repeated insults and threats of physical violence against the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, by the President of the Philippines and his supporters," Colville said in a statement.
Sought for comment in a press briefing, Duterte challenged Callamard to face him in person.
"Oo talaga, sabihin niya ulit na why are you arresting people, why are you there on the ground making it hard for the people or even killing those who resist arrest?" Duterte told reporters.
"Sabihin mo sa kaniya, harapin niya ako dito, p***** i** talaga hiritan. Binabastos niya tayo," he added.
Callamard has been critical of deaths under the Duterte administration and had sought an invitation to visit the country to investigate drug-related killings.
The Philippine government last year invited Callamard, but she declined due to conditions set by the government, including a public debate with Duterte, which she said would break UN protocol.
She visited Manila in May to attend an academic conference on drug-related issues and grace the Commission on Human Rights' 30th-anniversary celebration.
The UN added that Callamard has been subjected to "a tirade of online abuse, including physical threats, during what appears to be a prolonged and well-orchestrated trolling operation across the internet and on social media."
"This campaign, coupled with the repeated personal attacks on Ms. Callamard by President Duterte, seems to be designed to intimidate her into not carrying out the mandate bestowed on her by the Human Rights Council," Colville said.
"We condemn this treatment of Ms. Callamard, and the disrespect it shows to the Human Rights Council that appointed her, in the strongest terms," he added.
The administration has repeatedly defended the drug war, saying 3,800 drug suspects killed in police operations since July 2016 had put up violent resistance, prompting officers to defend themselves.
Human rights groups estimate the death toll at 13,000, a figure government has dismissed as overblown.
In the same statement, the UN also expressed concern on threats made against its investigators by senior Burundian officials over a report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, as well as "hostility" faced by Sheila Keetharuth, a special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.