I am saying that U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard’s visit to the Philippines was unexpected because her presence was only reported when she was spotted at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Commission on Human Rights on May 4.
In fact she refused to grant interviews to the media and the reason could only be that she didn’t want to make a big fuss of her visit because supposedly it was under wraps. But her familiar looks gave her away and she was divulged.
The reason why her unexpected visit got media attention is because the country was expecting that the next time she come it was to debate with President Rodrigo Duterte on extrajudicial killings and human rights violation brought about by the administration’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs which has been vigorously criticized by Callamard and her ilk.
As we all know, she rejected Duterte’s challenge and instead said she preferred a joint press conference with him, which actually does not prove anything.
Why can’t Callamard allow Duterte to throw questions at her and have her answers under oath if she really has the dossiers necessary to nail down the president?
But that is neither here nor there for Callamard was in the country, according to her, in an unofficial capacity, solely to attend a two-day academic conference at the invitation of the University of the Philippines and human rights lawyers.
It did not stop her, however, from chiding Duterte’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs, saying world leaders have recognized that such an approach does not work. It is just like saying that because high-ranking government officials have declared war against illegal drugs that there is now legitimacy in their actions.
Callamard told a forum she attended that badly thought out policies not only fail to address drug abuse and trafficking, they also compound the problems and “can foster a regime of impunity infecting the whole justice sector and reaching into whole societies, invigorating the rule of violence rather than law.”
I have written so many times in defense of Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, bloody/deadly as it may seem to be, but again I ask this question: who is complaining?
With the information and communications technology in almost everybody’s finger tips now, we are no longer a far-flung corner of the world. We are no longer ignorant about events, good and bad, happening all over the world.
There are more atrocities committed by strongmen abroad where even their own state are being destroyed and their citizens fleeing and dying that is exceedingly worthy of the UN’s attention, action and strong condemnation.
Here in the Philippines we are just waking up to a new president that seems to be succeeding where others failed miserably in uplifting the lives of Filipinos while steering the nation to calm waters.
There may be killings along the way but if that is what it takes to reach the aspirations of the many poor Filipinos, then who is the UN to stop us?
We never had it this good and we can only hope it continues without the interference of UN’s Callamard.