Philippine Threat To Leave United Nations
Phillipie Preisent, Rodrigo Duterte, has blasted the United Nations. He made the Philippine threat to leave the United Nations in response to UN comments about killings in the Philippines. In his short term in office, Duterte has already gained a reputation for his forthright and bullish comments. His rhetoric has encouraged a vigilante approach to dealing with organised drugs gangs. This has led to reproach from UN Special Rapporteurs.
Since the election of President Duterte, independent monitors believe that up to 650 drug dealers have been summarily executed. These killings have been encouraged by the state, Duterte himself saying of opposition to his anti drugs methods:
There is no due process in my mouth. You can’t stop me and I’m not afraid even if you say that I can end up in jail. Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun – you have my support.
The war of words with the UN has been sparked as a response to this comment by UN Special Rapporteur, Agnes Callamand:
claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.
The crux of the UN statement is that the fight against illegal drug smuggling needs to be done legally. It is all well and good chasing down smugglers. However the perpetrators of crimes should be treated according to international human rights laws. If not, as she notes, the law enforcement agencies can themselves be held accountable by the International Community.
Duterte’s response does little to suggest that he wants the methods to change. His own police force acknowledges that there have been hundreds of extrajudicial executions. However, his response to suggestions that there ought to be a crack down on these was, typically of the man, quite blunt:
Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you’re that rude, son of a bitch, we’ll just leave you.
The Philippine threat to leave the United Nations was backed up with a suggestion that other nations would join to form a rival International organisation. He cited African nations and, interestingly, China, as ones who he would call upon to form a breakaway group.
Asked by reporters about the likely consequences of any attempts to break away from the United Nations, Duterte said:
I don’t give a shit about them. They are the ones interfering.
In a two hour long press conference he also railed against the International community in general. Citing the viral photograph of the Syrian boy, he asked:
Why is it that United States is not doing anything? I do not read you. Anybody in that stupid body complaining about the stench there of death?
And of the race related issues in the United States, he asked:
Why are you Americans killing the black people there, shooting them down when they are already on the ground? Answer that question, because even if it’s just one or two or three, it is still human rights violations.
President Duterte will hardly win many friends with his comments. However, he is unlikely to care. In his eight weeks of office so far he has become embroiled in the arguments over sovereignty in the South China Seas. To make his point, he simply said that he would jump on a Jet Ski and sit on the islands to prove they were Philippine. He has made radical changes and cuts to healthcare provision legislation. The number of inmates at already overcrowded prisons in Manila has increased massively. He has also courted world and domestic anger with his moves to bury former, disgraced, President, Ferdinand Marcos with full military honours.