Tirade vs UN exec has ‘chilling effect’ | Inquirer News
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Tirade vs UN exec has ‘chilling effect’

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 07:10 AM September 02, 2017

UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard. INQUIRER file photo

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has warned that President Duterte’s latest expletive-laden tirade against United Nations special rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard may cause a “chilling effect” among human rights activists.

“The recent statement from the highest official of the land sends a chilling effect not only to Callamard, but also to human rights defenders who are just expressing their concerns over human rights violations related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” the CHR said in a statement on Friday.

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Duterte’s tirades against Callamard, a staunch critic of the administration’s war on drugs, was triggered by Callamard’s social media posts condemning and seeking justice for the police-perpetrated killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in Caloocan City.

In a series of tweets, Callamard said the National Bureau of Investigation’s assessment that Delos Santos was summarily “executed” and “murdered” showed the “latest symbol of a massive, government-led, human rights crisis.”

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Callamard demanded that Delos Santos’ death be the last in the bloody campaign.

During a press conference, an agitated Mr. Duterte responded:  “Son of a bitch, tell her. Don’t try to scare me. She’s a fool.”

CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana explained that Callamard only wanted to remind the government “to ensure that these extrajudicial killings must stop.”

“There is no reason to take it in a negative way,” she said.

Pointing out that Callamard was French, Mr. Duterte had claimed—mistakenly—that in France, people are assumed guilty until proven innocent. The French Embassy, however, has corrected this. “As in the Philippines, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is at the core of the French judicial system,” the embassy said in a statement.

“The CHR reiterates that it supports the government’s desire to end drug addiction and alleged drug-related activities in the Philippines, but it condemns the methods that the government is currently employing, such as illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings,” the commission said in its statement.

Calling itself “the conscience of the government and the people,” the CHR reiterated that the campaign against drugs is best addressed by addressing its root causes, “the social ills forcing people to drug abuse and drug addiction.”

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Meanwhile, Callamard, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, replied to Mr. Duterte’s challenge for her to come to the Philippines by saying, “An official visit is not a vehicle for entertainment, theatrics or politicking.”

“An official visit without respect for the victims, respect for the law, respect for due process would be unacceptable,” Callamard said, reposting her statement in December, in which she rejected Mr. Duterte’s conditions for her to be allowed to hold a fact-finding mission on the war on drugs, which included a public debate with the President.

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TAGS: Agnes Callamard, Commission on Human Rights, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, Summary Executions
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