A U.S. lawmaker on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte “should not be invited” to the White House citing the Philippine President’s bloody human rights record.
In his opening statement at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission probe on Duterte’s drug war, Massachusetts Representative James McGovern said that he would lead a protest once Duterte enters the White House.
“President Duterte, by all accounts, seems to not have a high regard for human rights and I think it is important for the members of congress in a bipartisan way to make our concerns known and make them known loudly and clearly,” said McGovern, co-chair of the bipartisan caucus.
“I certainly believe, very strongly, that a man with the human rights record of President Duterte should not be invited to the White House. And if he comes, I will lead the protest because, again, we got to be on the side of advocating for human rights, not explaining them away,” he added.
McGovern blasted Duterte’s hardline approach against illegal drugs, saying what is going on in the country is “not necessary in every sense of the word.”
The lawmaker explained the Philippine government should explore alternatives like community-based prevention programs instead of “killing people.”
“Many countries in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world have adopted different approaches for the problem of illicit drug use. No other country comes to mind where people are assassinated in the streets in the name of fighting drugs and leaders brag about it as a good thing,” he said.
The Democratic congressman also urged the Duterte administration to report the truth on the controversial war’s impact to the people by allowing UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard to conduct independent investigation without “unreasonable conditions.”
“The government could start by accepting the request of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings for a country visit pending since last October and do so without unreasonable conditions. That would be a good faith step forward,” he said. JPV
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