Callamard says visit to PH 'not vehicle for entertainment'


Posted at Aug 31 2017 01:40 AM | Updated as of Aug 31 2017 02:03 AM

MANILA - United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard on Wednesday reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte's conditions on her official visit to the Philippines are unacceptable.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday night, Callamard said an official visit to the country to look into alleged extrajudicial killings under the war on illegal drugs "is not a vehicle for entertainment, theatrics or politicking."

Callamard has urged the Philippine government to lift its conditions on her investigation because they go against the UN's code of conduct and procedures.

Callamard said she opposes Duterte's condition to have a public debate on the drug war because it may reveal confidential information on the investigation.

"Many of these matters should remain confidential for the sake of due process, in keeping with the principles of fair trial and presumption of innocence, and to avoid future accusations of contempt of court, amongst other things. They cannot and should not be publicly debated," Callamard said in a statement last December.

Callamard refused Duterte's request to ask questions after the investigation due to confidentiality. 

She instead suggested a joint press conference after the debriefing.

"The President of the Philippines will have plenty of opportunities to question me in the context of this debriefing, and refute or debate my preliminary findings as he sees fit. But these debriefings are confidential," she said.

“I have suggested to the government that the debriefing be followed by a joint press conference with President Duterte and myself, if he so wishes," she added.

Callamard also disagreed that she should take an oath before answering questions from government officials as it is against the Code of Conduct of Fact-Finding Missions.

"When appointed by the 48 member states of the Human Rights Council in July 2016, I made a commitment to 'perform my duties and exercise my functions from a completely impartial, loyal and conscientious standpoint, and truthfully.' For these reasons, this demand is unacceptable," she said.

It was reported on Monday that Duterte cursed Callamard for urging the country to make the death of 17-year-old student Kian delos Santos the last in Duterte's anti-narcotics drive. 

"French? T*** i**, umuwi siya doon. (Son of a b****. She should just go home)," Duterte was quoted as saying in a news report. 

On May 4, Callamard visited Manila and attended the Commission on Human Rights' 30th anniversary celebration.