Human rights spice up talks on cooperation
THE PHILIPPINES capped its series of bilateral talks on Tuesday, Nov. 14, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit — with a state leader saying he brought up the delicate subject of human rights to a “receptive” President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The Philippines on the Duterte administration’s watch chairs this year’s summit, amid international condemnation of Mr. Duterte’s brutal drug campaign.
In a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he tackled Mr. Duterte over allegations of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in Manila’s deadly drug war.
The Canadian prime minister’s Mr. Trudeau’s comments came the day after US President Donald J. Trump hailed the “great relationship” he enjoys with Mr. Duterte in a meeting the Philippine government said did not touch on human rights, although the White House said they had done so “briefly.”
“I also mentioned human rights, the rule of law, and specifically extrajudicial killings as being an issue that Canada is concerned with,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in Manila, recounting his conversation with Mr. Duterte. “I impressed upon him the need for respect for the rule of law.”
Asked how Mr. Duterte responded, Mr. Trudeau said: “The president was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange.”
“This is something that is important to Canadians, and it’s important to the world and I will always bring that up,” Mr. Trudeau said, referring to human rights.
He added he offered support to Mr. Duterte “as a friend to help move forward on what is a real challenge.”
Mr. Trump, for his part, skipped the plenary session of a summit of East and Southeast Asian leaders in Manila on Tuesday because of scheduling delays, but he said his marathon trip to the region had been a success.
Mr. Trump left for home from the Philippines after a lunch with the other leaders, as meetings were running about two hours behind schedule. He told reporters on Air Force One that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would attend the plenary session in his place, a senior White House official said. —