France dis­putes Duterte on hu­man rights

Business World - - THE NATION -

FRANCE ON Wed­nes­day re­jected claims by Philip­pine President Ro­drigo R. Duterte that peo­ple were guilty un­til proven in­no­cent in its le­gal sys­tem, as it em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of hu­man rights and rule of law.

The statement released by the French em­bassy fol­lowed Mr. Duterte’s as­sess­ment of the ju­di­cial sys­tem in France on Mon­day as he de­fended his con­tro­ver­sial war on drugs that has claimed thou­sands of lives.

“We have to point out that, as in the Philip­pines, the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence un­til proven guilty is at the core of the French ju­di­cial sys­tem, based on the prin­ci­ples en­shrined in the French Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man and Civic Rights of Au­gust 26, 1789,” the statement said.

“France strongly be­lieves in the im­por­tance of the rule of law, due process and re­spect for hu­man rights in all coun­tries, in­clud­ing the Philip­pines.”

In Mon­day’s press con­fer­ence, Mr. Duterte had re­acted an­grily to com­ments by the United Na­tions’ spe­cial rap­por­teur on ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, Agnes Cal­la­mard, about the al­leged mur­der by po­lice of a 17-year- old boy as part of the drug war.

On her Twit­ter ac­count, Ms. Cal­la­mard con­demned the killing as “mur­der” and called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing the boy’s death should be “the last.”

Mr. Duterte, who fre­quently uses coarse lan­guage par­tic­u­larly against crit­ics of his drug war, lashed out at her per­son­ally.

“Daugh­ter of a whore, tell her! Don’t she dare scare me, daugh­ter of a whore. She’s an id­iot! Where is that crazy per­son from?”

Upon learn­ing she was French, Mr. Duterte said peo­ple in France were pre­sumed guilty un­less proven in­no­cent.

“Even in her own place, that hap­pens. She’s an id­iot,” he said.

“In their place, they can de­tain a per­son al­most in­def­i­nitely un­der the French law. And the French law says you are guilty and you have to prove your in­no­cence. That’s how it works.”

Fol­low­ing the French em­bassy’s statement, Mr. Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto C. Abella, said in a statement, “The Philip­pines and France share the same values of re­spect for hu­man rights, due process and ac­cord pri­macy to the pre­sump­tion of in­no­cence.”

“The President’s state­ments yes­ter­day ex­press the sen­ti­ment that while no ju­di­cial or le­gal sys­tem in the world is per­fect, coun­tries are con­tin­u­ously work­ing to re­fine their laws and im­prove their re­spec­tive na­tional sys­tems in or­der to en­sure pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights while main­tain­ing peace and or­der within its ter­ri­tory,” Mr. Abella also said. —

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