Human rights advocates find Du30 ‘Hitler’ comparison ‘dangerous, lamentable’
If it’s another joke, human rights advocates aren’t laughing.
In a statement on Friday, former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Etta Rosales chided President Rodrigo Duterte for his statement effectively describing himself as a “Hitler” to the country’s drug addicts.
In a press conference in Davao fresh from his trip in Vietnam, Duterte, noting public comparisons between himself and Adolf Hitler, said that if the German Nazi leader had slaughtered three million Jews, then he would be “happy to slaughter three million drug addicts to save my country from perdition.”
“I am not certain if Mr. Duterte was ‘joking’ as he is fond to explain when he gets caught with controversial statements that go against national policy. But even if he were just joking, comparing himself to Adolf Hitler—a global criminal of the second world war condemned by civilization for the crimes against humanity he had committed when he slaughtered the six million Jews in Europe—is nothing to kid about even in banter among friends,” Rosales said.
“Mr. Duterte is treading on dangerous grounds. He expects us all to accept the possibility that a President can commit crimes against humanity akin to genocide by slaughtering three million poor users and pushers of drugs because, as far as Mr. Duterte sees them, they are derelicts of society, the scum of the earth which are better eradicated in order to redeem ‘his’ country from them,” Rosales said.
Noting that the Rome Statute, to which the Philippines is a party, defines the slaughter of millions as a crime against humanity, Rosales suggested that the slaughter of thousands of suspected drug users and pushers in the Philippines “deserves the scrutiny and investigation of the International Criminal Court, if the Philippines refuses to take over jurisdiction. The ICC can have jurisdiction over this heinous crime too and, as member of the United Nations, we are bound to comply.”
Meanwhile, incumbent CHR chair Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon deferred comment, saying he was not yet privy to the statement or the context it was made.
Too, Gascon wants to avoid a “pintakasi” situation on Duterte’s every statement.
“We’re not a political institution … that’s not our role. We are not the main opposition to Duterte. We are a constitutional oversight body. We will speak to events as they unfold and ideally, events that have a direct impact on human rights,” Gascon said, in a phone interview.
“Let whatever he said stand or fall in the public mind. It’s deplorable but it’s his call. Like what [US presidential candidate Hillary] Clinton said: Words are important,” Gascon said.
“But of course, [Duterte’s words are] something we are concerned about because it creates the backdrop, the bigger message arc. We’ll monitor closely the possible implication and meaning of those words on the ground,” Gascon said.
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