‘IT IS A PERSONAL INSULT’
DUTERTE SLAMS TRUDEAU AFTER PRIME MINISTER BRINGS UP HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at Justin Trudeau after the prime minister raised concerns about human rights abuses under the country’s drug war.
Duterte said he was personally insulted and would not explain his policies to foreigners.
“I will answer the fisherman and the farmer and I will explain to them patiently why it is so, but I will never, never allow a foreigner to question why it is so,” he told reporters in an expletive-laden answer at a press conference.
“I said I will not explain. It is a personal and official insult. It angers me when you are a foreigner, you do not know what exactly is happening in this country. You don’t even investigate.”
Trudeau said he raised concerns about human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign when he met Tuesday with the president ahead of Canada’s summit in the Philippines with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Trudeau was the first leader of the 20 attending this week’s ASEAN summit and related meetings who has publicly said he brought up the touchy issue with the volatile Filipino leader.
“I also mentioned human rights, the rule of law and specifically extrajudicial killings as being an issue that Canada is concerned with,” Trudeau said at a news conference. “I impressed on him the need for respect for the rule of law, and as always offered Canada’s support and help as a friend to move forward on what is a real challenge.
“The president was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange.”
But Duterte later told reporters that he had refused to provide an explanation for the killings.
While Canada does little trade with the Philippines — the two nations exchanged US$1.5 billion in goods last year — Trudeau was in Manila seeking expanded ties with ASEAN.
Even though Duterte helped Canada get a seat at a luncheon at an ASEAN-affiliated meeting known as the East Asia Summit, Trudeau said he still brought up concerns with the Philippine president.
“Countries around the world know that when you engage with Canada you will hear about human-rights concerns and we are the first to mention that we are not perfect, either,” said Trudeau.
Duterte is highly sensitive to such criticism, and in the past called Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” and said he could “go to hell” after the U.S. president called for the drug war to be fought “in a way that’s consistent with basic international norms.”
President Donald Trump, who also attended this week’s ASEAN summit, did not publicly take Duterte to task for the drug crackdown. Instead, Trump said he and Duterte “had a great relationship,” and avoided questions about whether he raised human rights concerns.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said human rights came up “briefly” in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs. She did not say if Trump was critical of Duterte’s program.
Harry Roque, Duterte’s spokesman, said there was no mention of human rights or extralegal killings during the meeting with Trump but there was a lengthy discussion of the Philippines’ war on drugs.
The two sides later issued a statement saying they “underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programs.”