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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to pull out of the UN

The Filipino leader called the UN a 'son of a bitch' for criticising his violent crackdown on the drugs trade

Tim Walker
Sunday 21 August 2016 20:07 BST
Mr Duterte, 71, won a landslide election in May promising to tackle poverty and crime
Mr Duterte, 71, won a landslide election in May promising to tackle poverty and crime (Getty)

The combative Filipino President known as “The Punisher” has threatened to take the country out of the United Nations after facing criticism from the organisation over his brutal crackdown on drug crime. Rodrigo Duterte, who was elected in a landslide in May, described the UN as a “son of a bitch,” saying in English: “Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate.”

Speaking on Sunday in Davao, the southern Philippines city where he spent two decades as mayor, the 71-year-old accused the UN of failing in its mission to alleviate hunger and international conflict, saying it had neglected the woes of the Philippines. “Take us out of your organisation. You have done nothing anyway,” he said. “When were you here last time? Nothing. Never. Except to criticise.”

Mr Duterte has sanctioned the killing of traffickers in a belligerent bid to destroy the country’s rampant drugs trade, including promising medals to any member of the public who shoots a drug dealer. Since he took office in June, some 650 people have been killed by police, with as many as 900 more thought to have been slain by vigilantes.

The UN has repeatedly condemned the violent conduct of Mr Duterte’s anti-drugs efforts. In a statement released on Thursday, the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, urged the Filipino authorities “to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” adding: “Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the Government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.”

Last month, in his inaugural State of the Nation address, Mr Duterte – who was swept to power on a surge of public anger at the establishment for its failure to tackle poverty and crime – insisted complaints about human rights would not deter him from his drugs war.

Speaking on Sunday, he suggested he might invite China and African countries to join The Philippines in forming a new international body separate from the UN.

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