Wednesday 22 November 2017

Philippines president Duterte threatens to quit 'stupid' UN

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte: outspoken. Photo: Reuters
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte: outspoken. Photo: Reuters

June Deneuve

The Philippines' brash-talking president has threatened to withdraw his country from the United Nations in his latest outburst against critics of his anti-drug campaign, which has left hundreds of suspects dead.

President Rodrigo Duterte pointed to the haunting image of a bloodied child being pulled from the rubble of a missile-struck building in the Syrian city of Aleppo to note the inability of the US and the UN to stop such deadly conflicts, complaining that he comes under fire for the killings of criminals.

The US State Department and two UN human rights experts have urged Mr Duterte and Filipino authorities to stop extrajudicial killings in the fight against illegal drugs. Philippine police say more than 500 drug suspects have been killed in gun battles with police since Mr Duterte was sworn in eight weeks ago.

Criticisms of the president's crusade against a problem that he says has become a pandemic provoked an angry outburst from Mr Duterte.

"Maybe we'll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you're that rude, son of a bitch, we'll just leave you," Mr Duterte told reporters in Davao, where he first built a reputation for his tough crime-busting style while serving as the southern city's longtime mayor.

Mr Duterte also belittled UN work in the Philippines without providing facts, raising questions, for example, about the performance of the world body's agency that fights hunger.

If the Philippines breaks off from the UN - which Mr Duterte called "inutile" (useless) and "stupid" - he said he would invite other countries like China and African nations to form a new international body.

The UN, he said, should return Manila's financial contributions.

"Look at the iconic boy that was taken out from the rubble and he was made to sit in the ambulance and we saw it," Mr Duterte said, referring to the photo of a three-year-old Syrian boy, Omran Daqneesh, that has gone viral online.

"Why is it that United States is not doing anything? I do not read you," Mr Duterte said. "Anybody in that stupid body complaining about the stench there of death?"

When asked about the possible repercussions of his remarks, Mr Duterte replied: "I don't give a s*** about them. They are the ones interfering."

Mr Duterte's drug crackdown has left more than 500 suspected dealers dead and more than 4,400 arrested since he took office on June 30.

Irish Independent

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