The office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday condemned President Rodrigo Duterte for his threats against UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard.
“We are concerned by continuing efforts by certain states to undermine and denigrate important mechanisms established by the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a press briefing on attacks/threats by States against UN human rights experts.
“The High Commissioner also deplores the repeated insults and threats of physical violence against the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, by the President of the Philippines and his supporters,” Colville added.
Colville mentioned that last November 9, Duterte threatened to slap Callamard if she investigates him for alleged extrajudicial killings.
The same threat was made again by the Philippine President against the rapporteur in June after she criticized Duterte’s anti-drug campaign which has left thousands dead.
According to Colville, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings has evidently been acting fully in relation with her mandate when commenting on the situation in the Philippines.
Not long ago, Callamard has also been subjected to a tirade of online abuse, involving physical threats, during what seems to be a prolonged and well-orchestrated trolling operation across the internet and on social media.
“This campaign, coupled with the repeated personal attacks on Ms. Callamard by President Duterte, seems to be designed to intimidate her into not carrying out the mandate bestowed on her by the Human Rights Council,” Colville stressed.
“We condemn this treatment of Ms Callamard, and the disrespect it shows to the Human Rights Council that appointed her, in the strongest terms,” he added.
The UN special rapporteur had earlier said she wanted to investigate the Duterte administration due to reports of state-sponsored killings of drug suspects.
The Philippine President has invited Callamard to visit the Philippines to start her investigation, but it was cancelled because she refused to accept Duterte’s conditions which she said would break UN protocol.