File Photo of Rodrigo Duterte. Photograph:( Reuters )
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein stated that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte needed a psychiatric evaluation after his government included a UN official in a list of 600 people they want labelled as terrorists.
"He needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination. This kind of comment is unacceptable. These attacks cannot go unanswered; the UN human rights council must take a position," said Zeid.
In a petition filed in a Manila court last month, the department of justice listed more than 600 people it wanted to be categorised as rebels for “using acts of terror” to undermine the government. Among them was the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, for allegedly being a senior member of the Maoist rebel group.
The petition, made public on Friday, would give the government power to closely monitor the movements and limit the resources of anyone on the list.
Tauli-Corpuz denounced the government for labelling her as a terrorist and putting her life at risk, calling the allegations “baseless, malicious and irresponsible”.
The UN said the accusations were an act of retaliation for Tauli-Corpuz’s recent criticism of the attacks on and killings of indigenous Lumad people in the Philippines. It said the claims violated the UN convention on human rights.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has been in the post since 2014, denounced the government, calling the complaint “baseless, malicious and, irresponsible”.
Many human rights activists have jumped to condemn the Filipino leader, who recently started a campaign against communist rebels and has a history of taking controversial actions against those he considers criminals.
After joining the office in 2016, Duterte tried to find a solution to a long-standing conflict with the communists, even putting leftist politicians in his cabinet. But since peace talks failed, he started a campaign against the groups, recently claiming that the rebels were trying to overthrow the government using acts of terror.