Philippines tells world to butt out
THE Philippines’ foreign secretary pushed back against criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, telling the United Nations not to interfere.
“We urge everyone to allow us to deal with our domestic challenges in order to achieve our national goals, without undue interference,” Perfecto Yasay told the UN General Assembly.
There has been growing international alarm over the rising death toll from Mr Duterte’s crackdown on crime, with human rights groups saying that security forces are engaging in extrajudicial killings, a charge which the Philippines denies.
Mr Duterte won elections in a landslide in May after vowing to eradicate the illegal drug trade in six months, and promising that 100,000 criminals would be killed in the process.
Since he took office on June 30 about 3000 people have been killed, about one-third of them suspects shot dead by police and the rest by unidentified attackers, according to police statistics.
The top diplomat told the General Assembly that Mr Duterte enjoyed a 92 percent approval rating at home for his stance and suggested that his campaign was misunderstood.
He argued that corruption and drugs had “torn apart many of our communities, destroyed our families and snuffed out the hopes and dreams of our people”.
Invoking the UN’s new sustainable development goals adopted last year, Mr Yasay said his country would not be able to meet those goals without tackling corruption and drugs.
Relations between Mr Duterte and the United Nations have been tense after the leader launched several tirades against the world body for its criticism of his tactics, even threatening to pull out – a threat he later withdrew.
Earlier this month, Mr Duterte declined a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of a meeting in Laos of Southeast Asian leaders.