Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on his crucial news conference on Sunday said he could withdraw the country from the United Nations after he was criticized for his “drug war.”
Last week the U.S. State Department and two UN human rights experts have urged Duterte and Filipino authorities to stop extrajudicial killings in the fight against illegal drugs and ensure law enforcement compliance with international human rights obligations.
Duterte seven-week anti-drug war has already gathered a lot of world attention with increasing number of casualties. About 900 suspected drug traffickers have been killed since Duterte came to power and took office on June 30. More than 4,400 were arrested since then. Thousands of people have surrendered to authorities, hoping to avoid getting killed.
However on Monday, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told a Senate committee investigating extra-judicial killings that 712 drug traffickers and users had been killed during police operations. Police were also investigating 1,067 drug-related killings outside normal police work, Dela Rosa said.
In a late night Sunday news conference in his home town, Davao, Duterte denied any criticism on his address, arguing about UN capability in response."I will prove to the world that you are a very stupid expert,"
he said, urging them to count not just the number of drug-related deaths but also the innocent lives lost to drugs.
He also blamed the UN for not doing enough to address hunger and terrorism and for not being able to do anything about Syria and Iraq and allowing big powers to bomb villages and kill innocent civilians. Duterte suggested in that case The Philippine might leave the organization and create a new one together with China and African nations instead."Maybe we'll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you're that rude, we'll just leave you,"
Duterte told reporters in Davao.
But on Monday Philippines foreign minister, Perfecto Yasay, hurried to reassure the country will stay with the UN. "We are committed to the U.N. despite our numerous frustrations and disappointments with the international agency,"
Yasay told a news conference on Monday.