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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Philippine President-elect slammed by UN experts for instigating deadly violence

MANILA, Philippines  - Two United Nations (UN) independent experts called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to stop instigating deadly violence following his recent comment on media killings.

Duterte earlier said that some journalists in the Philippines who were killed were also corrupt.

UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions Cristoff Heyns said that Duterte's remarks amounts to incitement to violence and killing in a nation ranked as the second-deadliest country for journalists.

"These comments are irresponsible in the extreme, and unbecoming of any leader, let alone someone who is to assume the position of the leader of a country that calls itself democratic," Heyns said.

Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye said that justifying media killings based on how they conduct their professional activities can be understood as a signal to potential killers that killings journalists is acceptable.

"This position is even more disturbing when one considers that Philippines is still struggling to ensure accountability to notorious cases of violence against journalists, such as the Maguindanao massacre," Kaye said.

Kaye noted that provocative messages such as Duterte's recent statements indicate that he is displeased by the work of a journalist or an activist and that they can attack or kill them without fear of sanction.

Heyns also criticized the president-elect's plan to pay bounties to police and military officials for every drug lord that they turn in whether dead or alive.

"Talk of ‘dead or alive’ has no role to play in any state that claims to uphold human rights in law enforcement," Heyns said, adding that Duterte "fools no one" when says he is not ordering people to be killed.

Last week, Duterte lashed out against the UN and told it to "shut up" when he was asked about for his comment on a statement by international media organizations who want to file a suit against him. "

The UN? P******** kang UN, hindi mo ma-solve solve yung patayan dyan sa Middle East, they're killing people like... you cannot even lift a finger in Africa, they're butchering the black people there. Tumahimik nga kayo, pareho rin pala kayo ng Pilipinas," Duterte said in a press conference.

On Monday, Duterte said that he will no longer grant interviews until the end of his term to avoid criticisms.

By Patricia Lourdes Viray

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