Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - @Team_In­quirer By Nikko Di­zon and Leila B. Salaver­ria —WITH RE­PORTS FROM PHILIP C. TUBEZA, AFP AND REUTERS INQ

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau on Tues­day said he raised con­cerns over hu­man rights and ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings (EJKs) in the Philip­pines with Pres­i­dent Duterte, be­com­ing the only world leader to tackle the sen­si­tive is­sues skirted by al­most all the oth­ers dur­ing a re­gional sum­mit in Manila.

“As I men­tioned to Pres­i­dent Duterte, we are con­cerned with hu­man rights, with the ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings, im­pressed upon him the need for re­spect for the rule of law and as al­ways of­fered Canada’s sup­port and help as a friend to help move for­ward on what is the real chal- lenge,” Trudeau told re­porters.

“This is the way we en­gage with the world. This is the way we al­ways will,” he said.

“We know that talk­ing about hu­man rights is an es­sen­tial part for a path for­ward. It has to be done in an hon­est and frank way. But it has to be done. We have to talk about the high ex­pec­ta­tions we must have to pro­tect life, to up­hold the rule of law, and hu­man rights,” he said.

Trudeau’s com­ments came a day af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hailed the “great re­la­tion­ship” he en­joyed with Mr. Duterte in a meet­ing that Mala­cañang said did not touch on hu­man rights.

Gross abuses

Ahead of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) Sum­mit in Manila, rights groups had urged world lead­ers to chal­lenge Mr. Duterte over what they said were gross abuses.

Mr. Duterte won the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion last year, vow- ing to erad­i­cate drugs through a cam­paign that would see up to 100,000 peo­ple killed.

Since he took of­fice, po­lice have re­ported killing 3,967 peo­ple in his war on drugs.

An­other 2,290 peo­ple have been killed in drug-re­lated crimes, while thou­sands of other deaths re­main un­solved, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment data.

Rights groups say Mr. Duterte may be pre­sid­ing over a crime against hu­man­ity.

On Tues­day, Trudeau said Canada had earned a rep­u­ta­tion for dis­cussing hu­man rights and the rule of law with other na­tions.

Asked how Mr. Duterte re­sponded, Trudeau said: “The Pres­i­dent was re­cep­tive to my com­ments and it was through­out a very cor­dial and pos­i­tive ex­change.”

He added: “This is some­thing that is im­por­tant to Cana­di­ans, and it’s im­por­tant to the world and I will al­ways bring that up.”

Asked about Trudeau’s com­ments at news con­fer­ence on Tues­day night, Mr. Duterte said he would “only an­swer to the peo­ple of the Repub­lic of the Philip­pines.”

“I will an­swer a (Filipino) fish­er­man and the farmer [but] I will never, never al­low a for­eigner to ques­tion me. It’s a per­sonal and of­fi­cial in­sult. That is why you hear me throw­ing ep­i­thets, curses, bull­shit and ev­ery­thing be­cause it angers me when you are a for­eigner, you do not know what ex­actly is hap­pen­ing in this coun­try,” he said.

Mr. Duterte bris­tles at crit­i­cism of his war on drugs, call­ing then US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” for ex­press­ing con­cerns over hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions last year when the crack­down on nar­cotics in the Philip­pines turned into a killing spree.

Mr. Duterte also has not spared crit­ics like European Union par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, lo­cal and international hu­man rights cam­paign­ers, the United Na­tions, in­clud­ing for­mer UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon, and even for­mer Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III.

Last week, talk­ing to re­porters be­fore leav­ing to at­tend the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Viet­nam, he said he would tell any world leader who would bring up hu­man rights con­cerns with him to “lay off.”

Mr. Duterte is host­ing world lead­ers as the Philip­pines holds the ro­tat­ing chair of the 10-na­tion Asean bloc.

Rare sour note

Trudeau’s com­ments were a rare sour note for Mr. Duterte dur­ing the Asean Sum­mit that had been largely silent on al­leged ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings in his war on drugs.

There was no pres­sure from Trump over the war on drugs dur­ing his meet­ing with Mr. Duterte on Mon­day.

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 pro­grams to pro­mote the wel­fare of all sec­tors, in­clud­ing the most vul­ner­a­ble groups.”

It said Trump and Mr. Duterte also talked about the Philip­pines’ cam­paign against il­le­gal drugs and crime, and agreed to work to­gether to fight the il­le­gal drugs scourge.

“Both sides ac­knowl­edged that il­le­gal drug use is a prob­lem af­flict­ing both coun­tries and com­mit­ted to share best prac­tices in the ar­eas of pre­ven­tion; en­force­ment, in­clud­ing ca­pac­ity-build­ing and trans­parency in in­ves­ti­ga­tions; and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion,” it said.


SEN­SI­TIVE CON­CERNS Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, wel­comed by Pres­i­dent Duterte to the Asean Sum­mit on Mon­day, says he has im­pressed on the Philip­pine leader dur­ing their meet­ing the need for re­spect for the rule of law and Canada’s of­fer of...

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