Facing mounting international criticism for an anti-drug war that has left an estimated 1,700 dead in just his first seven weeks in office, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Sunday lashed out at both the U.S. and United Nations for criticizing human rights abuses abroad while failing to stem violence in their own backyards.
Referring to the spate of police shootings of Black men captured on videotape, he said: "Why are you Americans killing the Black people there, shooting them down when they are already on the ground?" he said. "Answer that question, because even if it's just one or two or three, it is still human rights violations."
His remarks were made as part of a press conference that began shortly after midnight Sunday and did not conclude until the early hours of the morning. Duterte also told reporters he was considering leaving the U.N., whose human rights experts recently criticized the Philippine's two-fisted crackdown on illegal drugs which has led to the arrests of more than 4,400 people since June 30, when Duterte took office.
"What have you done for the world, Mr. United Nations? ... You know, if he comes here, you tell him straight: Mayor Duterte would only ask five questions to prove that you are stupid."
Referring to Omran Daqneesh, the soiled and bloodied five-year-old boy who was photographed after an airstrike in Syria’s civil war hit his home, he said: "Look at the iconic boy that was taken out from the rubble and he was made to sit in the ambulance and we saw it," said Duterte according to the Associated Press. "Why is it that United States is not doing anything? I do not read you."
Duterte campaigned on a tough-on-crime platform and doubled down on the rhetoric in his inaugural address, inviting both vigilantes and Maoist rebels to murder suspected drug dealers extrajudicially.
The tough-talking former mayor of a city in the southern Philippines, Duterte’s approval ratings remain high, despite estimates that as many as 900 of the Filipinos slain on his watch had no connection to the illegal drug trade. Witnesses report that many of those killed have been shot in the back-of-the-head execution style, and a recent report by the Philippine Human Rights Commission revealed that a man and his son had their limbs broken before they were fatally shot.
The Philippine Human Rights Commission said autopsies carried on the man and his son showed they had suffered broken limbs before being shot three times.
"There was torture," said a commissioner.
For his part, Duterte acknowledged the violence. "I admit many are dying but our campaign, now … we have momentum," he said.
Asked about the possible repercussions of his remarks, Duterte replied: "I don't give a sh*t about them. They are the ones interfering."