Duterte, like Trump, turned backs on int’l obligations – De Lima


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has criticized the glaring similarities between President Duterte and US President Donald Trump’s leadership styles which are both geared towards fulfilling one’s personal interest rather than the common good.

De Lima said Trump and Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), respectively, only reflects their disregard for the welfare of the people they serve.

“They, Trump and Duterte, both turned their backs on their respective international obligations, not to serve the common good and the interests of human rights, but to serve their own personal interests: to save their own respective hides,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 330.

“Trump did it to pre-empt his being called out for his own oppressive policies… And Duterte did it for the same reason: to hide from his own responsibilities for the human rights abuses he has heaped upon the Filipino people,” she said.

Last month, the United States (US) announced it was leaving the UNHRC in its supposed effort to promote human rights, just a year before its term expires.

In explaining the US’s decision, Trump’s envoy to the UN, Nikki Hailey, accused the Council of being a “protector of human-rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”

The former justice secretary pointed out that the US’s withdrawal from the UNHRC under Trump’s leadership has called to mind Duterte’s decision to withdraw the Philippines from the ICC last March.

“Just like Duterte when he unilaterally manifested the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC, the Trump administration wants their people, along with the rest of the world, to believe the bald-faced lie that he did it for benevolent and morally right reasons,” she said.

Last March 14, Duterte announced that the Philippines is unilaterally rescinding its ratification of the Rome Statute which created the ICC, due to what he called “baseless” accusations against him by UN officials and violations of due process by the ICC.

De Lima earlier noted that the heads of state – like Duterte – who tried to withdraw from the ICC include those who fear prosecution and trial at the ICC for widespread human rights violations during their reign.

She recently sought the Supreme Court’s nod to allow her to personally appear and argue on the petition that she and her colleagues filed challenging the Philippines’ unilateral decision to withdraw from the ICC, in the Oral Arguments set for Aug. 14, as reset from Aug. 7.

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