UN special rapporteurs are not elected, Callamard tells Roque
MANILA - United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard vowed Sunday that she and her colleagues will neither yield to "lies" nor intimidated after they were criticized by President Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque.
"We will not be silenced by lies nor intimidated by anyone’s bully pulpit," Callamard said in a statement.
Roque on Friday accused 2 UN special rapporteurs, both Filipinos, of "attempting to humiliate" their country before the international community, after they raised alarm on the impact of martial law on Lumad communities in Mindanao.
"Both special rapporteurs should be more circumspect on their statements given that they were elected into their post upon the behest of the former administration and that their observations made so publicly as they were, appear to be very partisan," he said.
Roque was referring to UN Special Rapporteurs Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, who had said that thousands of Lumads have been displaced and have lost their livelihood due to the south's militarization.
CALLAMARD FACT-CHECKS ROQUE
Callamard said UN special rapporteurs are not elected, contrary to Roque's statement.
"We are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as independent experts on the basis of our proven expertise and experience," she explained.
"We are NOT United Nations staff. We are volunteers who serve in our personal capacity and receive no remuneration."
UN independent experts, she added, are not at the behest of any government.
"We take on our roles with a pledge to uphold independence, efficiency, competence and integrity and to act with probity, impartiality, honesty and in good faith," she said.
Callamard added that when public officials choose fiction over fact, "you can be sure they have much to hide."
She also commended her colleagues Tauli-Corpuz and Jimenez-Damary for "implementing their mandates independently."
Callamard has been the subject of Duterte's tirades.
She has been critical of the deaths under the Duterte administration and had sought an invitation to visit the country to investigate drug-related killings.