MANILA - Two independent experts of the United Nations (UN) urged President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to stop inciting deadly violence following his recent statements on media killings.
In a statement, Cristof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom opinion and expression, reacted to Duterte's statement that some journalists are killed for being corrupt.
""A message of this nature amounts to incitement to violence and killing, in a nation already ranked as the second-deadliest country for journalists," Heyns said. "These comments are irresponsible in the extreme, and unbecoming of any leader, let alone someone who is to assume the position of the leader of a country that calls itself democratic."
Kaye, on the other hand, said: "Justifying the killing of journalists on the basis of how they conduct their professional activities can be understood as a permissive signal to potential killers that the murder of journalists is acceptable in certain circumstances and would not be punished."
"This position is even more disturbing when one considers that Philippines is still struggling to ensure accountability to notorious cases of violence against journalists, such as the Maguindanao massacre," he added.
The two also reacted to Duterte's view that freedom of speech cannot be guaranteed if a journalist did something wrong, adding that such "provocative messages" justify attacks against journalists.
"Such provocative messages indicate to any person who is displeased by the work of a journalist or an activist, for example, that they can attack or kill them without fear of sanction," Kaye said.
Meanwhile, Heyns stressed that Duterte's "dead or alive" order against drug lords is a violation of human rights.
"Talk of ‘dead or alive’ has no role to play in any state that claims to uphold human rights in law enforcement," he said.
"Intentional lethal use of force may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and not for common policing objectives. The President-elect fools no one when he says he is not calling on people to be killed," Heyns added.
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