President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his keynote address during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit Session 7 at the Ariyana Da Nang Exhibition and Convention Center in Da Nang City, Vietnam on November 9, 2017, bats for inclusive growth among the various member economies of APEC citing that each country should be given an opportunity for growth. ROBINSON NIÑAL

At APEC meeting, Duterte offers to host international summit on human rights
Audrey Morallo ( - November 10, 2017 - 9:51am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte, who is facing a raft of criticisms over alleged illegal killings attending his relentless campaign against illegal drugs, has offered to hold an international human rights summit in the Philippines.

Speaking in a press conference just after a speech delivered before a Filipino community in Vietnam, Duterte said that if such summit was called all governments should be invited.

"We should have a summit only on human rights. But we should call all," the tough-talking leader said. "Let us investigate all violations of human rights committed by all governments."

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 even 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," the Filipino leader 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," the chief executive told reporters.

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 declared.

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