GENEVA - The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, Friday called on the U.N. Human Rights Council to take action against the president of the Philippines for slanderous attacks against two U.N. special rapporteurs. Zeid is also suggesting that President Rodrigo Duterte see a psychiatrist over the remarks.
Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said the U.N. Human Rights Council must take a strong position against what he termed the outrageous attacks targeting the human rights experts, including the special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard. Zeid said the vilification must stop.
"This is absolutely disgraceful that the president of a country could speak in this way, using the foulest of language against a rapporteur that is highly respected," he said. "And, really, it makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation."
Duterte has lashed out at Callamard for raising concerns over the thousands of suspects killed in the president's so-called war on drugs.
Human Rights Watch estimates at least 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers have been killed since July 1, 2016.
Zeid has also criticized the Philippine state prosecutor for issuing a petition last month declaring the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and two other Philippine national experts on the subject, as terrorists.
"This is, of course, unacceptable, for a special rapporteur acting on behalf of the international community, whose expertise is sought by the Human Rights Council, to be treated in this way," he said. "And, I hope, and I expect the Human Rights Council to respond accordingly."
Philippine Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano responded to Zeid's remarks by calling them "an unmeasured outburst."
Zeid said he is very concerned about deepening repression and increasing threats in the Philippines against individuals and groups holding dissenting views.