Duterte says UN useless, tells Suu Kyi to ignore human rights critics

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2018 05:10 PM

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, leave after attending the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India. Adnan Abidi, Reuters

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he advised Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, to ignore criticisms from human rights organizations as he continued to lambast critics of his drug war.

Duterte said he had a chance to talk to Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counselor, and told the latter not to mind her critics.

"Aung San Suu Kyi was with us. I pity her, because she seems to be caught in the middle being a Nobel peace prize winner and there is the ruckus where she is heavily criticized,” Duterte said in a speech before Indian businessmen in New Delhi.

"I said, 'Don't mind the human rights, they are just a noisy bunch.’”

Suu Kyi has been criticized for her silence on the violence in the Rakhine state between the minority Rohingya Muslims and Buddhist locals.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for standing up against the military-backed government.

President Rodrigo Duterte attends a state dinner with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar in this March 20, 2017 file photo. Pyay Kyaw Aung, Reuters/file

Duterte again launched another tirade against human rights groups who criticize his war on drugs. He said the concept of human rights is western and may not necessarily apply to other parts of the world.

"There is too much emphasis or importance for the libertarians about human rights,” he said.

“If you put human rights ahead in premium of values, then one day, just like the 4 million Filipinos in the Philippines, you would lose the dignity of your fellowmen.”

Duterte, Suu Kyi and their fellow Southeast Asian leaders are in India to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - India Commemorative Summit and India’s Republic Day celebrations, in what is widely seen as New Delhi’s attempt to court the regional bloc in the face of growing Chinese influence.


Human rights advocates light candles in protest of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs in Quezon City, December 10, 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

In his speech, Duterte also criticized the United Nations, which had earlier called out his government over the killings linked to the war on drugs.

“The UN has no purpose at all, actually, for mankind,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, with all its inutility, it has not prevented any war, it has not prevented any massacre. And [while] here I am trying to protect my country, [they are] saying that I have killed 10,000.”

Duterte has earned international criticism for his war on drugs. Nearly 4,000 drug suspects have been killed since the tough-talking Filipino leader came to office, official police records say.

Human rights groups, however, said this figure is understated if the deaths allegedly carried out by so-called “vigilantes” will be taken into account.

The police have said over 19,568 homicide cases have been recorded since Duterte took office, but only 2,235 of these are drug-related, 413 of which have been resolved and 1,822 still under investigation.

While the President has ignored international criticism to his campaign, he has responded to public outcry to the deaths of teenagers at the hands of police by putting the Philippine National Police to a supporting role to the much smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.