Duterte: Human Rights Is The “Antithesis of Government”

rodrigo_duterte_and_laotian_president_bounnhang_vorachith_croppedThe election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte constitutes the lowest point for the struggling Filipino democratic system.  Duterte has used profanities against President Obama, the United States Ambassador to the Philippines, Pope Frances, the United Nations and others who have questioned his blood-soaked reign as president.  Recently, he even compared himself to Hitler in not only refusing to stop his extrajudicial killings of alleged criminals but saying that he was prepared like Hitler to murder millions.  Now this budding tyrant has declared that the very  concept of human rights is the “anti-thesis of government.” In reality it is Duterte who is pushing the Philippines back into a state of Nature where might is right and government is merely the dominion of the powerful over the powerless. What is particularly chilling is that Duterte is a lawyer and former prosecutor.

Duterte has ordered the killing of thousands and even personally tied to past murders from his time as a prosecutor.  He told the audience of policewomen “[Don’t listen to] human rights (groups), because human rights is always the anti-thesis of government.”  He has previously said “I don’t call about human rights.”

It is already clear that Duterte believes that the definition of “government” includes extrajudicial killings, authoritarian rule, and contempt for rule of law.  However, he now maintains that government cannot by definition include the concept of human rights.

As an attorney, Duterte is an utter disgrace to our profession.  As a national leader, he is little more than a profane, petty tyrant.  The United States cannot simply ignore his murderous and despotic policies — no matter how important an ally the Philippines may be.


131 thoughts on “Duterte: Human Rights Is The “Antithesis of Government””

  1. You’re not a shining example of a brave attorney Mr. Turley, you represent the U.S. Congress and teach at a school that needs food banks for its students (the richest country ever known to man).

    Nobody is listening to your paternalism. You say little-to-nothing about our own human rights abuses at home and abroad, you don’t have credibility to speak on human rights as a public intellectual in my view.

    1. Chip – you sound like someone who is very jealous of JT. His success gets under your skin doesn’t it. Just can’t take it.

  2. always a funny read when this blog discusses human rights. So disingenuous and out-of-touch…

    Go back to the well-to-do D.C. suburbs and quiet down now.

  3. There’s a good article about Duterte in The Washington Post, of all places, but it’s pretty amazing that something as obvious as the desirability of treating drug pushers and addicts as human beings with rights needs to be written about:

    “Nearly 3,000 people have already been gunned down, either by police or vigilante death squads, encouraged by Duterte, who has promised immunity. About 600,000 have also turned themselves in, many now caged in hideously crowded prisons that already look like concentration camps.

    “But most of the world has remained silent. President Obama has not publicly condemned these actions, and the United States actually pledged $32 million in aid to support Philippine law enforcement — and not only for the usual political reasons. Instead, this genocide is being ignored because, for too long, the dehumanization of people who use drugs and calls for their death have been an acceptable part of the ‘drug war.’ [My emphasis]

    “Indeed, while human rights organizations have condemned Duterte, many felt the need to explicitly reject any connection between Duterte’s victims and Hitler’s. ‘The comparison of drug users and dealers to Holocaust victims is inappropriate and deeply offensive,’ Todd Gutnick, the communications director for the Anti-Defamation League, told Reuters. [And what Gutnik said is inappropriate and deeply stupid].

    “I disagree. I am both a child of a Holocaust survivor and a person who has struggled with addiction. I do not believe anyone deserves to be murdered either for their religion or because they have a substance that governments have declared illegal coursing through their veins. [Ya think?] Until we recognize that killing people for taking drugs we dislike is no more acceptable than murdering them for blasphemy, practicing the wrong religion or witchcraft, we will not have decent — let alone effective — drug policy.”

    The author does point out something about marijuana that I didn’t know, however, and which has made me reconsider the wisdom of legalizing it:

    “Alcohol prohibition was heavily favored by the Ku Klux Klan — and also linked to fears about German and Irish immigrant drinkers. Marijuana, according to Harry Anslinger, the man who promoted and secured its prohibition, needed to be stopped because it ‘makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.’

    I did not know that, but it’s too bad, then, that Harry and his legislative brain trust didn’t save taxpayers a lot of money by just making it legally available only to honkies.

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