Jordan’s Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivers his annual report, during a session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Keystone via AP/Salvatore Di Nolfi
MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations human rights office chief said Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte needed “psychiatric evaluation” following his volley of verbal attacks on special rapporteurs, news agencies reported.
UN Human Right Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was quoted by AFP as saying that it was “disgraceful” that a leader of a country could speak using the “foulest of language” against highly-respected rapporteurs.
“(I)t makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation,” Zeid said as he listed the Philippines’ actions on special rapporteurs including the move to have one tagged as a terrorist.
The Philippine Justice Department filed a petition last month accusing UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Corpuz of terrorism and being a member of the local Maoist movement.
UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst and Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures chairperson Catalina Devandas-Aguilar said that the petition was an “unacceptable attack.”
Local rights groups also slammed the Duterte for issuing derogatory and racist remarks calling Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, “undernourished” and International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “black.”
In his global update on human rights concerns, Zeid said that he “deplored” Duterte’s order to security forces for them to refuse cooperation in any rights violation investigation in the country.
“I am concerned by deepening repression and increasing threats to individuals and groups with independent or dissenting views, including opposition Senators, current and former public officials, the Commission on Human Rights, human rights defenders and journalists,” Zeid said.
He stressed that the Philippine government had the duty to uphold human rights and to cooperate with persons appointed by the UN office.
Zeid said that he also rued the president’s encouragement of troops to violate fundamental rules of international humanitarian law by shooting female rebels in their private parts
Duterte won the presidency in 2016 on the back of a strong anti-drugs and anti-crime platform. He has since launched a brutal campaign against users and peddlers of narcotics and thousands, many of whom belonged to the country’s urban poor, have been killed.
The president has taken criticisms of his drug war personally, and his spokesperson said that the Philippines would not allow Callamard to be the one investigating the issue for prejudging the situation. / Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) – March 9, 2018 – 9:05pm
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