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Trump 'must challenge Duterte's horrifying human rights abuses'

13 November 2017

The Philippine leader's record will be under the spotlight next week with Mr Trump arriving on Sunday for bilateral meetings and a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

"He said something about, 'You know, you handle it very well, '" Duterte said, quoting Trump.

"The President was not able to attend the gala dinner because of two things - he is attending to urgent ASEAN hosting matters, and he is supervising and coordinating safe recovery of Vietnamese captives of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)", Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said. "We're even", the President had said, without naming the lawmakers.

Roque said the two leaders, who previously had two phone exchanges, appeared "genuinely pleased to have finally met in person".

In the photo, Duterte was at the back row, flanked by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Trump, on an Asian tour since the start of the month, is expected to raise concerns before Duterte several issues concerning the region-including the rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and arrest Beijing's growing influence in the region worsened by territorial sovereignty issues involving the South China Sea.

Duterte was able to meet and talk with top world leaders on the sidelines of the APEC summit. Responding to the criticism, Mr Duterte recently moved to take his controversial drugs campaign out of direct control of the police.

Since becoming president in mid-2016, Duterte has presided over an aggressive "war on drugs" that critics say has claimed upwards of 13,000 lives so far and counting.

Ms Callamard has called for the establishment of a "strong independent human rights institution" in the Philippines and criticised the Mr Duterte's drug policy.

"The position is: The use of force by state agents, of course, is not absolutely prohibited".

"We are looking at helicopters, small arms and equipment for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, but we are still discussing the specifics", said the same military official who declined to be named because he was not authorised to talk to the press.

Shortly after those remarks, Duterte proposed hosting an global human rights summit in the Philippines, saying countries like the U.S., France and Russian Federation needed to be investigated for violating human rights.

Hultgren, a Republican lawmaker from IL, and McGovern, a Democrat representative from MA, are co-chairmen of a USA congressional panel on human rights.

Trump 'must challenge Duterte's horrifying human rights abuses'