In 1970, Jordanian forces killed over 3,000 Palestinian refugees who had fled their homeland during the 1967 Arab–Israeli War. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation along with many thousands of refugees were then relocated to Lebanon after a mass expulsion. after a brutal suppression of their activities known as Black September.
Today, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan acts as a kind of parking lot for American tanks and armaments which then illegally pass into the sovereign territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. While Jordan has allowed the US to use its country as a base from which to inflict suffering onto the Syrian people, the suffering of Palestinians likewise continues with little meaningful Jordanian protest.
Against this backdrop, UN Human Rights Office High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan found time to criticise Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his war against terrorism and the related war on drugs. While the Jordanian head of state is a hereditary monarch, President Duterte was democratically elected and continues to enjoy the support of the vast majority of Filipino people, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has slammed Duterte for the naming of a UN official Victoria Tauli-Corpuz as a sympathiser of the New People’s Army terrorist group.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said,
“It makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation”.
Frankly, what ought to be subject to a wider evaluation is the fact that the UN Human Rights Commission has totally failed in its duty to address genuine human rights disasters in disputed territories. This includes the failure of the UN to do anything meaningful for Palestine, Kashmir, the Serbian refugees of the 1999 NATO war and occupation of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the war of aggression against the people of Donbass, just to name a few.
The Philippines is a country that for years has faced an insurgency from the New People’s Army and from extremist Moro groups, including the Daesh aligned Maute Group. Duterte, in declaring a state of Martial Law in Mindanao, was able to defeat the Maute Group after they attacked the city of Marawi in May of 2017. However, the country continues to face a protracted insurgency from the al-Qaeda styled Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Additionally, problems related to criminal activity surrounding the narcotics trade has held millions of ordinary Filipinos to ransom for decades and President Rodrigo Duterte has been the only contemporary head of state in the country to address this problem with a zero-tolerance approach.
A diplomatic forum such as the UN, for all its many faults, is supposed to be a place where one uses diplomatic language. Contrasted with the spirit of diplomatic language, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s statement about President Duterte is un-diplomatic, inflammatory and insulting. Duterte is the legally elected head of state of The Philippines and as such, it is his prerogative to tackle important law enforcement issues in the way that he feels best serves the country. The fact that most Filipinos continue to support Duterte, demonstrates that his solutions are widely accepted by the vast majority of his people.
It is one thing for the US, EU or Canada, which have clear unipolar economic interests in South East Asia to unfairly criticise Duterte, but for someone who works for the United Nations to stoop to this level is totally unacceptable in any context.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein owes The Philippines a formal apology for his disgusting statement. Such statements are unbecoming of the UN, even in its current state.