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Duterte’s human rights ‘summit’ draws cheers, jeers

“We do not invite guests to our house when our house is dirty. President Duterte should clean up. We need accountability. We need the extrajudicial executions to stop,” said AI Philippines director Butch Olano. Simeon Celi Jr./Presidential Photo, File

MANILA, Philippines — A member of the European Parliament has welcomed President Duterte’s willingness to host an international summit on human rights.

 “It will be a welcome initiative,” Enrique Guerrero Salom of Spain said in a press conference in Quezon City yesterday.

 Salom said the summit proposed by Duterte must genuinely tackle the human rights situation in the country.

 Rights group Amnesty International (AI), however, said the Philippines has no moral ascendancy to host such an event.

“We do not invite guests to our house when our house is dirty. President Duterte should clean up. We need accountability. We need the extrajudicial executions to stop,” said AI Philippines director Butch Olano.

He said Duterte’s offer to host a rights summit could not erase the number of victims of extrajudicial killings related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

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Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called Duterte a hypocrite for offering to host a world human rights summit, citing the extrajudicial killings.

Trillanes said Duterte was “all talk” and does not really intend to host the event. 

Opposition lawmaker Edcel Lagman of Albay said Duterte is not qualified to host an international summit on human rights, saying it “is a mockery, like an ogre presiding over a meeting of predators.”

“A gross violator of human rights in his deadly campaign against suspected drug users and peddlers has no credibility to convene a summit on human rights to include principally violator countries,” Lagman said.

Salom has been a member of the European Parliament since 2009, representing the Spanish Socialist Workers Party.

He and two other members of the European Parliament, Norbert Hans Neuser of Germany and Paolo Alberti of Italy, were supposed to visit Sen. Leila de Lima at Camp Crame yesterday, but the Philippine National Police (PNP) reportedly did not grant their request to visit the senator.

During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Vietnam on Friday, Duterte offered to host a world summit on human rights amid criticisms of his anti-drug war.

 Duterte said the summit should not only focus on his administration, but also on other countries where human rights violations are also reported.

Lagman said the fact that rights violations also occur in other countries does not justify the unabated transgression of human rights under the Duterte administration.

He said Duterte should not accuse rights groups and advocates of meddling in Philippine affairs, noting that protection and promotion of human rights are global concerns as declared in international conventions and even domestic legislation.

“There is no rhyme or reason for the continuing perpetration of these extrajudicial killings which should be stopped immediately without any contrived summit or self-serving tirades against human rights crusaders,” he said. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Jess Diaz, Marvin Sy, Janvic Mateo, Ghio Ong

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