Press Release
February 1, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 236:
Statement on President Duterte telling Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to ignore Human Rights


President Duterte again showed his disregard for human rights when he admitted telling Myanmar State Counsellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi to ignore human rights advocates calling on the Myanmar government to stop its ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

There is something fundamentally wrong in a national leader advising another to ignore human rights. It is a throwback to the dark ages, and it simply does not belong in the 21st century. The world has far advanced since the dark ages in establishing the universality and inalienability to all peoples of the right to life and the right to self-determination.

Duterte wants to single-handedly reverse this achievement of humanity by spreading his own philosophy of inhumanity and dehumanization to the whole world, one world leader at a time.

Of course, Mr. Duterte has time and again minced no words in expressing his disdain for human rights. He simply does not care about them. What is astounding this time in his conduct is that he is now urging other leaders to follow suit by ignoring the very foundation of post-World War II civilization: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its appurtenant covenants on civil, political, social and economic rights.

Duterte seems to be no longer contented to merely limiting his anti-human rights position within the Philippines. He now appears to be interested in exporting it to other countries.

He should be very careful, since exporting criminal conduct such as encouraging ethnic cleansing and the rape and murder of minorities is another international crime that he might not wish to add to his list of crimes that might soon be attended to by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. As of the moment his crimes might be limited to the Filipino people. Once he goes international, he might find himself branded under international law as an enemy of mankind.

Of course, the lack of foreseeable action by the ICC on Duterte's crimes encourages in the President a false sense of confidence, and the chance of him dying first before even an international indictment touches him adds to this. For the moment he might have nothing to worry about. Only the Filipino people will have to carry the international embarrassment of having their leader step on the world stage and humiliate not only the United Nations' core principles, but also the UN itself. To the world, this is what our leaders have become.

We must remind our international friends that this is not who we are, and that Duterte does not represent us when he urges and encourages other world leaders, such as a Noble Peace Prize winner no less, to ignore human rights.

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