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Special Rapporteur rejects misinformation about her current academic visit to Philippines

GENEVA (5 May 2017) – The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has released the following statement clarifying reports in the Filipino media and rejecting misinformation about her current visit to the Philippines to attend an academic conference:

“I am 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.

My current stay in the Philippines is not an official visit, so I will not be assessing the situation in the country, and there will be no report presented to the Human Rights Council.

I reject the statement issued today by the spokesperson’s office of President Rodrigo Duterte stating that the Philippine Government had not been informed in advance of my trip to the country.

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.

The Government of the Philippines 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. 

I also question the Philippine Government’s claim that I have 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. 

I look forward to a positive engagement with the Government of the Philippines on issues of interest to my mandate. I remain deeply committed to undertake an official visit to the country.”

Ms. Agnes Callamard (France) is the new Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. She has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. Ms. Callamard is the Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression at Columbia University and has previously worked with Article 19 and Amnesty International. She has advised multilateral organizations and governments around the world, has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries, and has published extensively on human rights and related fields.

The UN Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page: Philippines

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / bvukovic@ohchr.org) or write to eje@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, OHCHR Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

You can access this media statement online
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