Duterte cites human rights in Asean-EU meeting

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he brought up the human rights issue during the meeting among the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the European Union (EU).

EU President Donald Tusk, however, appeared to be "not interested at all," Duterte said.

The EU has yet to comment on this, but its previous statements have always cited human rights and the rule of law among its priorities.

Duterte, who has drawn flak globally because of his brutal war on drugs which has led to police and vigilante killings of alleged drug suspects, said he was the one who raised the reported human rights violations and alleged extrajudicial killings during the Asean-EU 40th commemorative summit.

"I was the one who injected the topic (about human rights). He (Tusk) was not interested at all. There were a lot of TV. The TV was working there. He did not (care) in my intervention (when) I inserted the matter of extrajudicial killing," the President said in an interview.

Duterte has launched several profanity-laden tirades against the EU for allegedly meddling in the country's domestic affairs when its officials criticized the Philippines' war on drugs.

In a prepared speech delivered during the meeting between the Asean and EU, Duterte said the European confederation still has a "special place" in the Southeast Asian region's external

But he maintained that he would not receive any assitance from the EU so as to avoid interference of foreign countries in the Philippines' domestic affairs.

"Give it (assistance) to the persons you believe who will tell you the truth. Do not give it to me because you think that I'm a (violator of human rights)," the President said before the reporters.

"Forget it. We will survive even if we have to eat dried fish and rice. We will surive. Just don't f*** with my country about sovereignty. That is really an insult. I consider it a very serious insult," he added.

While he admitted that there may be extrajudicial killings of drug personalities in the country, Duterte pointed out that his directive was to carry out lawful anti-drug operations.

He also noted that he imposed sanctions against rogue law enforcement officers who performed unlawfully in line with the war against illegal drugs.

"They said, 'You know, it appears that you are killing the small fry.' (I said), 'Okay, I'll go for the big ones.' Now, why is it that it is rampant in blighted communities? Because shabu is sold to the poor," Duterte said.

"Maybe I would say as a reality that there are some killings extrajudicially but as always, I order their arrest and detention just like what happened in Caloocan case," he added. Teenagers Kian Loyd delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz were separately killed, while kneeling and pleading for their lives, by Caloocan police. (SunStar Philippines)
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