Duterte threatens to pull Philippines out of UN
Manila // President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to withdraw the Philippines from the United Nations on Sunday, as he launched another profanity-laced tirade against the organisation for criticising his bloody war on crime.
More than 1,500 people have been killed since Mr Duterte took office and immediately began his law-and-order crackdown, according to police statistics, triggering fierce criticism from the UN and rights groups.
Mr Duterte, a lawyer famous for an acid tongue who has repeatedly told the UN not to interfere, stepped up his rhetoric against the organisation on Sunday.
“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations,” Mr Duterte said in a press conference in his home city of Davao that started about 1.00 am.
Mr Duterte said he may even try to set up a rival international organisation.
“I would invite everybody. I would invite maybe China, the African [nations],” he said.
The UN’s special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, last week said Mr Duterte’s promise of immunity and bounties to security forces who killed drug suspects violated international law.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June also strongly criticised Mr Duterte, who during the election campaign promised to kill 100,000 people and dump so many bodies in Manila Bay that the fish would grow fat from feeding on them.
“I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms,” Mr Ban said.
Mr Duterte frequently peppers his public comments with swear words – he has also called Pope Francis and the US ambassador to Manila sons of whores – and days after his election win used typical language to criticise the UN.
Mr Duterte lashed out in a similar fashion on Sunday, accusing the “stupid” UN of not doing anything in Middle East hotspots Syria and Iraq.
He referenced a haunting photo taken last week of a little Syrian boy, who was pictured sitting in an ambulance dazed and covered in blood after an air strike, as evidence of the UN’s ineffectiveness.
“Is that stupid body complaining about the stench there of death. Look at the iconic boy taken out of the rubble. When he was made to sit in the ambulance, and we saw it. So what’s the difference?”
Mr Duterte also asked why police killings in the United States were not attracting the same kind of criticism as the Philippines.
“What do you think the Americans did to the black people there? Is that not rubbing off also? And [critics] say what?”
The Philippine president also accused the UN of doing nothing for his country – ignoring its poverty reduction programmes and enormous help following typhoons and other natural disasters.
Nearly 900 people have been murdered by unknown people during Mr Duterte’s time in power, with police killing another 665 alleged drug suspects, according to the national police chief.
* Agence France-Presse