MANILA — Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Monday accused the two United Nations human rights experts of breaking protocol when they criticized the Duterte administration’s domestic policies, particularly his war on illegal drugs.
At the same time, Yasay assured the Philippines will remain a member of the UN, saying the comments made by Duterte the previous day that he will pull the Philippines out of the UN were taken out of context.
“We remain committed to the UN. We will not leave the UN,” Yasay said.
Yasay said Duterte was only expressing his frustration over the UN experts’ interference on the Philippines’s domestic affairs, which prompted an angry reaction from the President.
“The President is understandably and extremely disappointed and frustrated with the actions of the special rapporteurs in arbitrarily concluding that these drug-related killings were done by or at the instance of these law enforcers, but I can assure you that he remains committed to the UN of which the Philippines is one of the founding members, and to the purposes and objectives of which these august body stands for,” he said.
However, Yasay noted that the UN must also understand that the Duterte administration’s war on drugs is “very urgent” and a “critical domestic matter.”
Yasay lamented that Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Dainius Puras, who called on the Duterte administration to end all drug-related killings, “made assumptions” based on media reports before they could even conduct an independent probe.
As a protocol, Yasay said they should have first requested the Philippine government if they could investigate the extra-judicial killings that had sparked alarm from human rights groups, the Catholic Church and the United States.
“They are not acting in accordance with existing procedures in engaging and cooperating with member states,” he said.
“It is highly irresponsible on their part to solely rely on such allegations based on information from unnamed sources without proper substantiation.”
Although the UN rapporteurs may still submit a formal request to conduct a probe on the killings, Yasay believes “it doesn’t make sense” if they already made a conclusion “that we violated the human rights of the people in this drug-related killings.”
“The damage has been done,” Yasay said. “If they make a request they already concluded arbitrarily that we violated the human rights of people. I think that’s putting the cart in front of the horse.”
“What they will just do? Make a request and they just validate the irresponsible statements? It doesn’t make sense at all.”
Instead of criticizing the Philippines, Yasay called on the international community to support the country in addressing the drug problem instead of merely providing “lip service” in eradicating the global scourge that has affected innocent lives and children. Michaela del Callar/PNA/northboundasia.com