Callamard: My PH visit is unofficial

Callamard: My PH visit is unofficial

- in News
@Jon Joaquin
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, gestures as she addresses a narcotics forum at a state-run university in Manila on May 5, 2017. The UN investigator on extrajudicial killings made a surprise visit to the Philippines on May 5, angering President Rodrigo Duterte whose brutal drug war she had vowed to look into. (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard yesterday rejected what she said was “misinformation” about her current “academic visit” to the Philippines.

In a statement, Callamard said she is presently visiting the Philippines “to participate in an academic conference on drug related issues.”

It is normal routine for Special Rapporteurs to visit countries to attend different conferences or events, but such activities are not official country visits,” she said.

Callamard also said her current stay in the Philippines is “not an official visit” and hence she will not be assessing the situation in the country.

There will be no report presented to the Human Rights Council,” she added.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella had said Malacañang was aware of Callamard’s visit to the country but that she had not informed government in advance of her trip.

We are disappointed that, in not contacting our government in advance of this visit, she has sent a clear signal that she is not interested in getting an objective perspective on the issues that are the focus of her responsibility,” he said on Friday.

Read: Malacañang’s statement on UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard’s PH visit

Callamard, however, rejected Abella’s statement.

On 28 April 2017, the Government was officially informed of my forthcoming visit to the country to take part in an academic conference on drug related issues. The Government was also informed that the trip was not an official visit,” she said.

She said the government  replied with letters dated 29 April and 1 May “acknowledging reception of my letter and reacting to the information about my upcoming academic trip.”

Exchanges on this matter by phone, mail and email between my mandate and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines continued until 4 May,” she added.

Callamard also questioned Malacañang’s claim that she had not accepted the invitation to conduct an official visit to the country.

Last year, I rejected the conditions imposed by the Government on the visit, as they did not comply with the rules and methods of work of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council,” she said.

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