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Philippines President Duterte Should Undergo Checks: UN Rights Chief

12 March 2018, 01:48 | Darnell Patrick

U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people Vicky Tauli-Corpuz

U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people Vicky Tauli-Corpuz

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the UN Human Rights Council must take a position", Àl-Hussein said, after Duterte's government sought to get an investigator, a former Philippines lawmaker and four former Catholic priests declared as "terrorists".

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, defended the independence, impartiality and expertise of special rapporteurs in the face of "smear and hate" campaigns, some involving incitement to violence.

"We are shocked that the Special Rapporteur (Tauli-Corpuz) is being targeted because of her work defending the rights of indigenous peoples", they said, noting her inclusion "comes after the public comments made, jointly with other special rapporteurs, in relation to the militarization, attacks and killings of indigenous Lumad peoples by members of the armed forces in Mindanao".

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the U.N. Human Rights Council must take a position", Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said at a news conference Friday.

The petition said the rebels were "using acts of terror" to sow fear and panic to overthrow the Government.

Zeid made the statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition to formally identify a United Nations rapporteur and 648 other individuals as terrorists.

In a statement from Ms. Carling defending herself, she writes "I expect to have the possibility to take legal action to clear my name, and expect the Government to ensure the physical safety of those of us who are listed in the petition, as called for by United Nations experts".

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"This action of High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein is completely uncalled for and demeans not only the Head of State of a Member-State, but tarnishes the reputation of the Office of the High Commissioner", Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.

"He needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination. She can dispute the classification in the Regional Trial Court where the petition to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group is now pending", Roque said. "There is no reason whatsoever for such an unmeasured outburst directed against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and it should not be repeated".

Local and global organizations have slammed the Philippine government's action, with New York-based Human Rights Watch calling the petition "a virtual government hit list".

The NPA has waged a People's War against the Philippines government, which is called "semifeudal" and "semicolonial" for half a century.

Also on the list are four former priests, the environmental campaigner Sherwin de Vera, the CPP's founder, José Maria Sison and 18 other leaders of the party. "I'm very tempted to respond in similar language but I have opted to restrain myself, opting not to respond in the same ad hominem used by the UN High Commissioner", Roque said.

"Duterte is engaged in a wild anti-communist witch hunt under the guise of anti-terrorism", he said.

He told Zeid, a Jordanian prince who is "not elected" unlike Duterte, to respect the Philippines' democracy. Duterte spokesmen initially claimed he was eager for his day in Bensouda's court, but no one seriously believed that.



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