VOA: Trump Praises Philippines’ Duterte, Human Rights Take Backseat14 November 2017 | 06:14 | FOCUS News Agency
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said human rights “briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs” as Trump met for 40 minutes with Duterte in Manila.
But Duterte spokesman Harry Roque disputed that account, saying, “There was no mention of human rights. There was no mention of extralegal killings. There was only a rather lengthy discussion of the Philippine war on drugs with President Duterte doing most of the explaining.”
Rights groups had called on Trump to end his five-nation Asian trip with a statement condemning Duterte’s killing of drug suspects in a far-reaching campaign. Human Rights Watch says that since mid-2016 security forces and “unidentified gunmen” have killed at least 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers, with 3,116 of the killings carried out by police. By comparison, the death toll in a year under Duterte is higher than the number killed while dictator Ferdinand Marcos was in power between 1972 and 1981.
Ahead of their meeting, Trump said of Duterte, "We've had a great relationship.”
Trump praised Duterte for his organization of summits in Manila, saying he handled them "beautifully. I've really enjoyed being here."
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