UN to send new rapporteur to probe PH’s war on drugs

MANILA The United Nations (UN) is now looking for another special rapporteur that would investigate the war on drugs of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, MalacaAang said on Thursday.

The last word that I had with the SFA (Secretary of Foreign Affairs) in this regard is, apparently the UN Secretary General (Antonio Guterres) said that they will be proposing names. We're waiting the names, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during Palace media briefing.

Roque explained the UN has other special rapporteurs under the thematic rapporteur system of its Human Rights Council (HRC).

You know the special rapporteur in extralegal killings is only one of the special rapporteurs, Roque said, referring to Agnes Callamard whose designation to probe war on drugs was opposed by MalacaAang.

Roque said Callamard has no credibility because she had prejudged the President's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

She came here unannounced at that time when we were in the process of negotiating her investigation, Roque said.

Callamard visited the Philippines in May 2017 to attend a forum on illegal drugs and told the media that the war on drugs won't work and would only worsen the problem.

We cannot forgive Callamard. She entered the Philippines uninvited and made her conclusions as if she already made investigation. Maybe it will take time before the wounds caused by Callamard's action would heal, Roque said.

Last month, Depatment of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano asked the UN to send another special rapporteur, saying Callamard has been stripped of any credibility to carry out the scrutiny.

Roque assured the Philippine government will continue to recognize its obligation to uphold human rights and the sovereign rights of the UNHRC to investigate a country.

The countries should agree first if the rapporteurs want to investigate, Roque said in reaction to UN Human Rights Chief Al Hussein's remark that the Philippines should welcome the UN probe team.

My reply to His Excellency, the Prince of Jordan, is it's a two-way street - the entire human rights mechanism of the UN is built around sovereignty, and it will not work if rapporteurs become untrustworthy as far as sovereign states are concerned, the Palace official explained.

With the UN's plan to name new rapporteur, Roque decided to withdraw his plan to recommend to President Duterte another UN special rapporteur.

I withheld my recommendation when I found out that there was already communication between the UN SecGen himself and our SFA. Let's await the list of possible names to be given by the UN Secretary General, he said.

Source: Philippine News Agency