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Philippines questions Callamard's appointment as UN watchdog


AGENCIES
MANILA
PHILIPPINE Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday questioned why Agnes Callamard was appointed United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings when her expertise was on freedom of expression, in the latest episode of tit-for-tat between the two.
Roque said that he did not know of any qualifications that would make Callamard a good special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings as she had no prosecutorial and court appearance experience.
"This Agnes Callamard, I can't understand why she became an expert on against [sic] illegal killing. I know her. Her field is freedom of expression. I can concede that she is an expert on freedom of expression, but to be a special rapporteur on extrajudicial killing, I don't know of her qualifications," Roque said in a radio interview.
"She did not appear before a court regularly to prosecute crime and murder cases. She does not have special research on extralegal killing," the presidential spokesperson added.
The exchange of blistering comments between Roque and the UN official started when the presidential spokesperson claimed that UN special rapporteurs Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary used their positions to"embarrass" President Rodrigo Duterte's administration before the international community.
The two rapporteurs warned that the ongoing militarisation in Mindanao had a"massive and potentially irreversible" effect on the human rights of some Lumads.
This prompted Roque to tell the two to be more circumspect in their statements which appeared to be"very partisan" as they were nominated by the erstwhile Aquino administration.
Callamard then issued a correction and stressed that special rapporteurs were appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as experts with"proven expertise and experience."

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