According to the Philippines’ foreign minister, the United Nations human rights chief made “irresponsible and disrespectful” remarks about President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, and warned that such remarks could set a dangerous precedent.
Duterte’s attacks on United Nations human rights activists suggest that he may require the services of a psychiatrist, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who spoke at a press conference on Friday.
After filing a petition in a Manila court seeking the designation of more than 600 suspected communist guerrillas, including a U.N. special rapporteur, as “terrorists,” Zeid’s remarks came as a surprise to many. Reuters reported that the Philippine justice ministry filed the petition.
A senior member of the Maoist rebel group, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, was listed as a signatory to the petition. Tauli-Corpuz was appointed special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples by the United Nations in 2014.
“The complaint is baseless, malicious, and irresponsible,” Tauli-Corpuz has stated in response to the government’s denial.
Zeid asserted that Duterte’s attacks on United Nations special rapporteurs could not go unanswered and that the United Nations Human Rights Council must take a stand.
He stated that the president of the Philippines “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation.”
Duterte has also repeatedly insulted Agnes Callamard, the current United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, whom Manila has accused of bias and ineligibility due to her criticism of Duterte’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign.