Despite Appalling Human Rights Records, White House Rolls Out Red Carpet For Rodrigo Duterte

President Donald Trump reportedly spoke with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday.
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    Just a few weeks after he congratulated autocratic Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a controversial referendum win, U.S. President Donald Trump invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte—who has presided over a violent “war on the poor” in his country and is the subject of a mass murder complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC)—to the White House.

    A statement from the White House Press Office said the two leaders spoke on Saturday but gave no indication of when the visit might occur.

    Since his inauguration in June 2016, Duterte has overseen an anti-drug campaign dubbed “Operation Double Barrel” that, according to Human Rights Watch, “has targeted suspected drug dealers and users ostensibly for arrest but in practice has been a campaign of extrajudicial execution in impoverished areas of Manila and other urban areas.”

    The rights group said last month that “Duterte’s outspoken endorsement of the campaign implicates him and other senior officials in possible incitement to violence, instigation of murder, and in command responsibility for crimes against humanity.”

    Amnesty International also declared earlier this year that “[u]nder President Duterte’s rule, the national police are breaking laws they are supposed to uphold while profiting from the murder of impoverished people the government was supposed to uplift. The same streets Duterte vowed to rid of crime are now filled with bodies of people illegally killed by his own police.”

    Manila resident Miguel Syjuco, an author, and professor, wrote last August:

    More alarmingly, in what seems an effort to systematically undermine the traditional democratic checks and balances to his authority, Duterte has threatened to shut down the legislature if it hinders his plans, invoked the specter of martial law when criticized by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and insulted concerned foreign ambassadors. […] And he has warned that members of the media are not protected from assassination: “The Constitution can no longer help you,” Duterte told reporters, “if you disrespect a person.”

    Duterte has in fact admitted to personally killing criminal suspects as mayor of Davao.

    But such wrongdoing appears not to faze the Trump administration, which is defending its decision to host Duterte at the White House. When pressed on the subject on Sunday, Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus said the invitation was a sign that “the issues facing us, developing out of North Korea, are so serious that we need a cooperation at some level from as many partners in the area as possible.”

    The Huffington Post reported:

    Priebus is “not so sure” the invitation “is a matter of honoring” Duterte, he said. But foreign leaders covet presidential invitations to D.C.; receiving them has long been regarded as a sign that a leader is in Washington’s good graces. And there’s little indication that the conversation in which Trump invited Duterte to Washington was anything but friendly. Trump had a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte,” according to a statement issued by the White House Saturday evening. The two presidents “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs,” the statement said.

    Watch the interaction with Priebus below:

    Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, pushed back against the White House’s position. “The facts of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s abusive war on drugs are not that he’s ‘fighting hard to rid [his] country of drugs,’ but that he’s pursuing a murderous war against the poor that has resulted in the brutally violent deaths of thousands of Filipinos,” Kine said Sunday.

    “Countries with close bilateral ties to the Philippines, particularly the United States, have an obligation to urge accountability for the victims,” he continued, “rather than roll out the red carpet for official state visits by its mastermind.”

    Kine and others offered more thoughts on Twitter:

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    • Lie_Buster

      Huh? What a headline shamelessly written. Considering the genocidal human rights record of the USA, Duerte is a bumbling street hooligan amateur. Would anyone expect either the Obama, Bush, Clinton or Trump regime to invite a real human rights advocate to the White House – someone known for speaking truth to power? They’d be stupid to do so. Remember the disaster that happened when Lady Bird Johnson invited Eartha Kitt to the White House and she dropped some serious truth. No. No US president will ever repeat that mistake. In fact, the dirtiest mofos on the planet Earth are the ONLY invitees to the House of Evil.

    • jo6pac

      Amerika has 300yrs of failed human rights wither here in Amerika or around the world. This guys a chump compared to us, Amerika 1.
      Sadly true.

    • James Wherry

      Duterte is wildly popular among Filipinos. They are sick and tired of the drug wars and continued violence in Mindanao and Sebu Island by pirates.

      Human rights abuses can and should be pursued in closed settings, but the U.S. government cannot play the “Name and Shame Game” and spit in the faces of world leaders and then expect those same leaders to work with us. This is also true for Putin in Russia or Xi in China and I do NOT like their policies, at all.

      But for some reason, MintPressNews goes along with THOSE countries, but not the Philippines all because Duterte is meeting with the U.S.? Gee, this is just typical “Hate America/Blame America” hypocrisy.

      President Trump has been correct that the priority is joining forces to Russia, China or even the Philippines to fight terrorism, whether it’s Wa’habi terrorism or Shi’ite terrorism,

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        Look! He wants us to fight our own terrorists!