By: Reuters and Ellson A. Quismorio
Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday that he raised the issue of human rights and extrajudicial killings during a conversation with President Duterte, who was “receptive” to his comments.
Human rights groups had called on leaders at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Pasay City to pressure Duterte over the thousands of Filipinos killed during his 16-month-old crackdown on illegal drugs.
Trudeau said Canada had a reputation for being frank in discussing issues like the rule of law and human rights with partners everywhere.
“I actually had an opportunity to have a conversation with President Duterte just before our meeting earlier this morning in which I emphasized the people to people ties between Canada and the Philippines, the great connection there,” Trudeau, 45, said at the International Media Center in Pasay.
“I also mentioned human rights, rule of law, and specifically extra judicial killings as being an issue that Canada is concerned with,” he said. “I will always bring that up. The President was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange.”
Trudeau, who gave French translations to his answers to reporters, underscored the importance of raising these issues to the host President.
“We know that talking about human rights is an essential part of a path forward, it must be done in an honest and frank way, but it has to be done. We have to talk about the high expectation we must have to protect life, to uphold the law, and human rights,” he said.
“Canada is a country that always brings up human rights issues and strongly engages in line with our values anywhere in the world. Countries have accepted that and expect that even of Canada,” he added.
Trudeau arrived in the country last Sunday at The Ninoy Aquino International Airport for the summit.
He went to a local fastfood chain Jollibee branch at the North Harbor in Manila, lined up, and bought what appears to be value meal. He has a movie star-like following in the Philippines thanks to his good looks.