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UN rapporteur to Duterte: Listen to us, stop war on drugs

"Your president must listen to what we have to say, your president must stop the war on drugs," United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard said. United Nations/Loey Felipe

MANILA, Philippines — United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard called on President Rodrigo Duterte to stop his war on drugs.

Callamard said that the Philippines is now standing out as one of the worst places outside of conflict situations due to the scale of summary executions and extrajudicial killings.

"Your president must listen to what we have to say, your president must stop the war on drugs," Callamard said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Philippines.

The UN special rapporteur was supposed to investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects since Duterte took office.

Duterte, however, demanded to have a public debate with Callamard, which the latter rejected. Callamard stressed that Duterte's demands violate the UN Human Rights Council's code of conduct.

"For me to be able to conduct my investigation into the, including public debate with the president, I have clearly explained on multiple occasions why those conditions are violating the code of conduct that was adopted by the member states of the United Nations and why those conditions are also going against the spirit and the principles of an investigation including the respect for the victims, the respect for due process and respect for the rule of law," Callamard said.

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Callamard said that the war on drugs may not be the solution to the illegal drug trade. She said that the key thing for the Philippine government and Duterte is to be open to listening to experts on the issue.

The UN special rapporteur also reminded Duterte that incitement to violence is prohibited.

"Again I call to him, as president, your statements carry so much weight. You cannot call on anyone kill anyone else. You cannot deny people the right to life," the UN rapporteur said.

RELATED: Duterte: Killing criminals not a crime against humanity

The Philippine government should also consider drug offenders as part of humanity and not just mere addicts, Callamard said.

"They are just portrayed as supposedly drug pushers or drug addicts. They are not fathers, they are not sons, they are not people who had a dream. They are just described as drug addicts and therefore people who could be killed," she said.

READ: Citizens have 'moral obligation' to arrest criminals, says Duterte

Callamard is mandated to undertake country visits to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions worldwide.

More than 7,000 alleged drug offenders have been killed since Duterte began his war on drugs.

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