CHR defends Callamard

By Janvic Mateo

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed concern over the latest tirade of President Duterte against United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard.

In a statement, the CHR said the expletive-laden remarks made by Duterte may send a chilling effect on human rights defenders who are only expressing concerns over reported human rights violations in the country.

“We are happy with the President’s pronouncements that the perpetrators in the Kian case will be brought to justice and due process will prevail,” CHR commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said, referring to the case of Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos who was allegedly summarily executed by the police last month.

“What UN Special Rapporteur Callamard said was just a reminder to government to ensure that these extrajudicial killings must stop. There is no reason to take it in a negative way,” the CHR official added.

Duterte went on a verbal rampage against Callamard after she urged the Philippine government to make the death of Delos Santos the last in the government’s war against illegal drugs.

The President called out Callamard for refusing to engage him in a public debate.

Callamard maintained that the conditions set by the Philippine government for her to conduct an official visit were against the terms of reference for special rapporteurs.

Aside from the debate, Malacañang also said that the rapporteur should allow Duterte to question her under oath.

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