Trudeau Raises Rights Is­sues As Asia Sum­mit Winds Down


MANILA (Dis­patches) - Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau raised the plight of Ro­hingya refugees and ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings in the Philip­pines at a sum­mit of Asian and Western lead­ers on Tues­day, sen­si­tive hu­man rights is­sues skirted by al­most all the oth­ers.

There was no pres­sure from U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over the Philip­pines’ bloody war on drugs dur­ing a meet­ing on Mon­day with Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte on the side­lines of the sum­mit.

A joint state­ment af­ter the meet­ing said the two sides “un­der­scored that hu­man rights and the dig­nity of hu­man life are es­sen­tial, and agreed to con­tinue main­stream­ing the hu­man rights agenda in their na­tional pro­grammes.”

How­ever, Trudeau said that dur­ing his con­ver­sa­tion with Duterte in Manila, he “men­tioned hu­man rights, rule of law and specif­i­cally ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings as be­ing an is­sue that Canada is con­cerned with.”

“The pres­i­dent was re­cep­tive to my com­ments and it was through­out a very cor­dial and pos­i­tive ex­change,” Trudeau told a news con­fer­ence.

More than 3,900 push­ers and users have been killed in the war on drugs that Duterte de­clared when he took of­fice last year. His gov­ern­ment says the po­lice act in self-de­fence, but crit­ics say ex­e­cu­tions are tak­ing place with no ac­count­abil­ity.

Duterte cursed Trump’s pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama, last year for rais­ing con­cerns about the war on drugs and he sub­se­quently de­clared that he was break­ing with the United States, a close ally of the Philip­pines since World War Two. Trump, by con­trast, said on Mon­day he had a “great re­la­tion­ship” with Duterte.

Trudeau said he also met Myan­mar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and raised the plight of Ro­hingya refugees, al­though he did not men­tion the Mus­lim mi­nor­ity by name.

“This is a tremen­dous con­cern to Canada and to many, many coun­tries around the world,” he said.

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