Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to slap UN critic of drugs war

10 November 2017, 10:30

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to slap a UN investigator who criticised his deadly war on drugs.

Since Mr Duterte took office in June 2016, more than 7,000 people have been killed in a brutal clampdown on illegal substances, with the leader saying he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts.

UN human rights expert Agnes Callamard has been a vocal critic of the operation and called for the establishment of a "strong independent human rights institution" in the Philippines.

Speaking to an audience of Filipinos in Vietnam, Mr Duterte said he told Ms Callamard: "If you investigate me, I will slap you."

He told the crowd: "I will slap her in front of you. Why? Because you are insulting me."

Asking why Ms Callamard was not more concerned with bombings and violence in the Middle East, Mr Duterte added: "What have you been doing all the time? Why are you so fascinated with drugs?"

Last month, Ms Callamard said it was "reprehensible and unconscionable" that Filipino politicians voted to cut the annual budget for the country's human rights body to 1,000 pesos (£15).

The investigator added that Mr Duterte's war on drugs was creating a "climate of fear and insecurity, feeding impunity, and undermining the constitutional fabrics of the country".

Hitting back at the claims, the Philippine President offered to host a global summit in which leaders could discuss "how we can protect human rights for all".

Mr Duterte said: "Let us investigate all violations of human rights committed by all governments.

"What makes the death of people in the Philippines more important than the rest of the children in the world that were massacred and killed?"

In his address, the outspoken leader also reiterated his claim that he stabbed someone to death as a teenager.

In a warning to drug addicts and dealers, he said: "When I was a teenager, I would go in and out of jail. I'd have rumbles here, rumbles there.

"At the age of 16, I already killed someone. A real person, a rumble, a stabbing.

"I was just 16 years old. It was just over a look. How much more now that I am president?"

Since the start of Mr Duterte's clampdown, Philippine police have reported killing more than 3,900 "drug personalities" and claim that another 2,290 died in unsolved "drug-related" killings.

Authorities insist police only kill in self-defence, but Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say officers are carrying out extrajudicial killings.