PHNOM PENH—The government will insist that the UN rapporteur on summary executions debate with President Duterte or there will be no UN investigation of extrajudicial killings in the Philippine war on drugs, according to Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
“If they will not comply with the conditions of the President for their visit to the Philippines to validate the claims, then the trip would not push through, they will not be able to come here,” Yasay told reporters here on Tuesday night.
Subject to conditions
Yasay pointed out that the proposed visit of UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard was upon the invitation of the Philippine government, which was subject to conditions.
The United Nations did not follow the regular procedure, which was to ask the government if they could come to the country to be able to investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, he said.
Instead, UN officials “jumped to conclusions” and rendered a judgment on the situation in the country, he said.
“They based their arbitrary decision on media reports,” he added.
This is why the President said that if UN officials wanted to come to the Philippines, they may do so, but on his terms, Yasay said.
Should the debate push through, Callamard would be under oath and Mr. Duterte would ask questions on the “authenticity” of the results of her inquiry, he said.
Mr. Duterte earlier lashed out at the United Nations for expressing concern about the rising body count in his war on illegal drugs.
Callamard, who has received the government’s invitation, set her own conditions for her visit.
She earlier said she was committed to visiting the country in 2017 “in full accordance with the Terms of Reference for Fact-Finding Missions by Special Rapporteurs.”
Callamard asked for free, confidential and unsupervised interviews with victims, their families, legal representatives, detainees and civil society representatives.
She also sought unrestricted access to all regions and places of detention and facilities.
She also said that as per the terms of reference, she would hold a high-level debriefing with the government to discuss her preliminary findings and present her end of mission statement.
Callamard would also hold a press conference to present her initial observations.
According to her briefing note, Callamard’s visit will be a fact-finding mission, not a criminal or judicial proceeding.
The general purpose of her visit is to “examine the level of protection of the right to life in law and in practice” in the Philippines.
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