Duterte lashes out at US, human rights critics in Russia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at the United States, the Philippines’ longtime ally, at a forum in Russia centering on the shift of global political power from the west to the east.

“The liberal global order built after the Second World War was the Pax Americana, appears to be under challenge,” Duterte said Thursday (Friday, Philippine time) at the Valdai Discussion Club forum in Sochi. “Its appeal weakened and its hold over countries diminished.”

Duterte attributed this to “exceptionalism” and “double standards,” underscoring that the Philippines and other developing countries face different challenges in problems that require different solutions.

“Yet some so-called friends act like they know the answers to our problems and impervious to our socio-economic and political conditions. They create rules and norms for almost everyone and some refuse to be bound by the same,” he said.

He then said that some countries are not even parties to key international treaties like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The US is not a party to the UNCLOS, while it has not ratified the UNCRC and has pulled out from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

He also lashed out at countries that backed out of arms deals out of human rights concerns, but “you see the same countries supplying high-end weaponry to parties whose actual human rights records leave so much to be desired.”

“We are tired of the misguided and self-serving crusades of the few. It is time that they be challenged,” Duterte said.

The President also repeated his tirades against critics of the human rights situation in the Philippines amid his war on drugs, saying that “they weaken my government's ability to protect law-abiding citizens from the outlaws.”

However, Duterte clarified that he is not against the US and liberalism. He even hailed liberalism as “the best pathways to a just and humane society.”

“We only seek to build a credible defense against those who might be tempted to violate our territorial integrity. Is this not something that our nations are entitled to? Is this not what democratically elected governments are mandated to do?” he said.

He added that he only wants friends and partners of the Philippines to respect the country’s sovereignty and independence.

This is a familiar assertion from Duterte, who has gradually pivoted away from the US and towards Russia and China.

He has chided the US many times, including over a halted arms deal which prompted him to seek armaments from Moscow and Beijing.