The Philippines added a UN human rights worker to the country’s ‘terror hit list’

Women rally against President Rodrigo Duterte for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018 in Manila, Philippines. Jes Aznar/Getty Images
  • The Duterte administration created a 600-person terror watchlist and declared a top UN human rights investigator as an affiliate of terrorists.
  • The UN rapporteur told Reuters that the accusation was “baseless, malicious and irresponsible.”
  • In response the UN high commissioner for human rights said that President Duterte was in need of “some sort of psychiatric examination.”

The Duterte administration has created a 600-person terror watchlist that includes a top UN human rights investigator.

The Philippines’ Department of Justice filed the list in a Manila court last month seeking approval for calling the individuals terrorists, according to Reuters. Once declared a terrorist, the government can surveil and monitor funds more closely.

The list included UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Philippine investigator who specialises in the rights of indigenous peoples, alongside leaders from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Tauli-Corpuz was listed as a senior member of the NPA, and told Reuters the accusation was “baseless, malicious and irresponsible.”

“The [Philippine] government sees this as an opportunity to pursue people they don’t like. I am worried for my safety and the safety of others on the list, including several rights activists,” she told Reuters.

Human Rights Watch researcher Carlos Conde called the 55-page filing a “virtual government hit list” and said the list puts over 600 people “at grave risk” of government retaliation.

“There’s a long history in the Philippines of the state security forces and pro-government militias assassinating people labelled as NPA members or supporters,” he said.

In response to Tauli-Corpuz’ terror listing, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said on Friday that Duterte “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination.”

“These attacks cannot go unanswered, the UN human rights council must take a position,” he said.

The notoriously outspoken Duterte has called the UN “stupid” over their condemnation of his extrajudicial war on drugs, which, by some estimates, has killed more than 12,000 people.

Duterte has also publicly criticised the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, who he said he would “slap” if she began her investigation.

In November, Duterte terminated peace talks with communist rebels and expressed a desire to consider them “terrorists.” The nearly 50-year long conflict with communist groups has led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.