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Duterte offers to host int'l human rights summit

In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, the body of alleged drug user Marcelo Salvador lies on the pavement after being shot by unidentified men in Las Pinas, south of Manila, Philippines. Drug dealers and drug addicts, were being shot by police or slain by unidentified gunmen in mysterious, gangland-style murders that were taking place at night. Salvador became a victim, the casualty of a vicious war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives as part of a campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — Amid criticism against the war on drugs and thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings, President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to host a human rights summit in the Philippines to discuss all human rights violations of all governments.

"We should have a summit only on human rights. But we should call all," Duterte said in a press conference in Vietnam.

"Let us investigate all violations of human rights committed by all governments," he added.

Duterte is facing a raft of criticisms over alleged illegal killings from his relentless campaign against illegal drugs in the Philippines.

He also lamented the fact that much of the criticism over human rights violations had been directed at him and his government, with critics oblivious to the violations of other nations such as the United States, which had orchestrated bombing runs in the Middle East that killed innocent civilians and children.

"There are so many violations of human rights, including sa United States, including the continuous bombing in the Middle East killing civilians pati mga bata, eskwelahan nila (including their children and schools) and ‘yung namatay along the way (and those killed along the way). And those who are responsible for it in the countries that did the bombings there like America, then you have recently, France and Russia," Duterte said who is currently in Vietnam for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

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The firebrand leader said he could not understand why the deaths of civilians in the Philippines were given more attention and prominence than the killings of children elsewhere.

Duterte has faced trenchant domestic and international criticisms during his more than a year in office because of his brutal campaign against illegal drugs and the killings and the human rights abuses that have marred it.

Human rights groups and activists have alleged that since the drug war began in July last year more than 12,000 civilians have died, a claim that Duterte and government security forces have denied.

Duterte has been sensitive to criticisms of the war on drugs, at one point challenging European envoys to leave Manila in 24 hours because of their warning about repercussions should the country failed to halt the killings. Duterte's tirade later turned out to be misplaced as it was a liberal group of parliamentarians, not the European Union, which issued the warning.

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The Philippine leader also slammed United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard for failing to speak out against other human rights violations transpiring in other parts of the globe.

"I have not heard you comment on the so many killings, the victims of bombs and of violence there in the Middle East," Duterte said.

"What have you been doing all the time? Why are you so fascinated with drugs? And you also should take note that there are plenty of Americans who died because of drugs," he added.

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Duterte told Callamard that in tackling the problem on drugs she should not only focus on the police but also on the doctors who prescribed the substance that led to addiction.

"They are responsible now for those guys who are really reckless. They should also be investigated by the human rights," Duterte said.

The president also expressed his desire to investigate not only human rights transgressions that occurred years ago not just those that were happening in the present time.

"I said, just because it happened 40 years ago, it happened 100 years ago. When it was wrong then, it is definitely still wrong now," he said.

READ:  Human rights group slams Duterte's 'tyrannical' ways

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