March 22, 2018

Duterte 'Needs Psychiatric Evaluation' - UN Human Rights Head

10 March 2018, 03:15 | Lena Norman

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wearing a military uniform in San Miguel town Bulacan province north of Manila Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wearing a military uniform in San Miguel town Bulacan province north of Manila Philippines

"These attacks can not go unanswered, the U.N. Human Rights Council must take a position", Zeid said, after Duterte's government sought to get a U.N. investigator, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests declared as "terrorists".

Al Hussein also hit out at President Duterte, saying: "He needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination".

"This is of course unacceptable for a special rapporteur acting on behalf of the global community whose expertise is sought by the Human Rights Council to be treated in this way", Zeid said.

NAN reports that Duterte declared a United Nations special rapporteur, a former Philippines lawmaker and four former Catholic priests and 600 communist guerrillas as "terrorists".

The petition will allow government to monitor listed "terrorists" more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures.

Since he resumed duty in July 2016, Duterte had freed some communist leaders to show his commitment to finding a permanent solution to a five-decade conflict.

"Apart from Tauli-Corpuz, Duterte and his supporters have threatened to harm and sought to discredit Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, who has sought to investigate the "drug war" killings", he wrote.

Zarate said many will see that the petition is only a "harrassement suit" aiming to silence dissent, similar to how the government launched assaults on independent institutions critical to the administration, like the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman. Duterte ditched intermittent peace talks with Maoist-led rebels a month later and designating the NPA and the CCP terrorist organizations in December.

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In her own statement dated Thursday, she denounced the inclusion of her name and called it "baseless, malicious, and irresponsible".

"We are shocked that the Special Rapporteur is being targeted because of her work defending the rights of indigenous peoples", said Michel Forst, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, chairperson of the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures, in a joint statement.

Zeid also referred to a pending case against the UN's special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli Carpuz.

Global rights groups and local critics have accused Duterte of drifting toward authoritarianism after declaring martial law in the south during a major attack by pro-Islamic State group militants a year ago.

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.

There was no basis for the charge of terrorism, said Sison, who was a mentor of Duterte when he was at university, although the two are now bitter rivals.

Florin Hilbay, former chief legal counsel of the previous Philippine government, noted the irony of Duterte's comments on the eve of the International Women's Day.

In response to Al-Hussein's remarks, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said he had "cast untoward aspersions regarding the President of the Republic of the Philippines".

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