Palace: Conditions for Callamard visit remain

The conditions previously set for the visit of United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Agnes Callamard to the Philippines had not changed, Malacañang clarified on Tuesday, August 29.

Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued the statement after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte invited Callamard anew to the country and investigate the alleged summary killings and human rights abuses in connection with the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“I’m sure that the president is very clear about the conditionalities. And if she meets up, then it will have to be according to those conditionalities,”  the Palace official said in a media conference.

Since Duterte took office last year, Callamard has been a vocal critic of his administration’s so-called drug war.

Last December, the president has invited the rapporteur to visit and assess the situation in the country. His invitation, however, comes with conditions, including a public debate with Duterte and that the UN special rapporteur should take an oath to “confirm her intention to be truthful.”

But Callamard said these conditions set by the president were “inconsistent with the Special Rapporteur Code of Conduct and Terms of Reference for country visits.”

“As far as we can tell, he has not said that conditions are waived,” Abella added.

A day before, a fuming Duterte hurled fresh expletives against Callamard after she posted in a social media that the death of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos should be the last in his drug war.

“T*** i** niya, sabihin mo. Huwag niya akong takutin. P***** i** niya. G*** pala siya eh. Taga-saan ba ‘yang buang na ‘yan (Tell her son of a b****. She should not intimidate me. Son of a b****. She is a fool),” the president told reporters in Pampanga when asked about his reaction to Callamard’s statement.

In a Twitter post last week, Callamard extended her condolences to the family of Delos Santos and of other drug war victims, using the hashtag “makehisdeathlast.” She also described Duterte’s campaign as “cruel.”

The irked president further accused Callamard of speaking up without having no idea about the context of drug menace in the Philippines.

“Papuntahan mo siya dito. Tingnan mo ang sitwasyon. Do not ever give me that kind of sh**. Republika ng Pilipinas ito, hindi teritoryo ng France (Let her come here. Look at the situation. Do not ever give me that kind of sh**. This is the Republic of the Philippines, not a territory of France),” Duterte added.

Callamard lamented Duterte’s expletive-laden response.

“I regret President Duterte’s response to my condolences to Kian Lloyd delos Santos’ family. Kian and others like him deserve dignity and justice. His family and families like his demand our respect and empathy. Not expletives,” she said in a Facebook post.

The UN rapporteur further stressed that it is the Philippine government’s obligation to ensure that  “all unlawful deaths at the hands of the Police are independently, impartially, effectively, and promptly investigated.”

She also affirmed her “keen interest and commitment to undertake an official visit to the Philippines.”

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