Duterte hits AI over interference in Asean affairs

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte slammed Thursday slammed the watchdog group Amnesty International (AI) for encouraging the nine heads of states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to take a strong stance against his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs.

Duterte, in an ambush interview with reporters, said the AI should not intervene in the affairs of the Asean.

“That (drug war) is not an issue. You are funny. Why would you interfere with us here? Your presidents will surely get irate. You look at the sins of other[s] first. Do not zero in,” the Chief Executive said.

Champa Patel, AI director for Southeast Asian and the Pacific, on Tuesday called on the nine Asean leaders, who will be attending the 30th Asean summits in Manila, to share their grievances over the “brutal” war on narcotics launched by Duterte.

Patel said the campaign on illicit drug trade could be considered a “scandal” for Duterte serving as Asean chairperson this year.

Patel lamented that the people who have been killed in the anti-drug war in the Philippines came from marginalized and neglected communities, "making it effectively a war on the poor.”

She said Southeast Asian leaders should see whether Duterte commits “serious breach” of the Asean charter” and “non-compliance” with charter’s pledge to human rights.

Duterte said Filipino-American community leader Loida Lewis, whose name floated earlier as among the people calling for his ouster, may have a hand in AI's interference.

"You know, it's all politics. Loida may have been giving money [to them]. They are her friends in America," he said. (SunStar Philippines)

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