Callamard showed lack of courtesy in belated announcement of visit: Abella
The Philippine government reiterated that UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard did not display courtesy when she replied belatedly that she was coming to the country to speak at a forum.
"Her delayed reply came on the day she left for the Philippines. This was neither timely nor proper courtesy accorded to a sovereign nation. We stand by our statement," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Saturday.
The Palace issued the statement after Callamard has released a statement about her visit to the Philippines to attend an academic conference.
“I am presently visiting Philippines to participate in an academic conference on drug related issues. It is normal routine for Special Rapporteurs to visit countries to attend different conferences or events, but such activities are not official country visits," Callamard said.
"My current stay in Philippines is not an official visit, so I will not be assessing the situation in the country, and there will be no report presented to the Human Rights Council," she added.
Abella said Callamard " conveniently failed to disclose that when the UNHCHR ( UN High Commission for Human Rights) office in Geneva informed the Philippine Mission there about her trip to the Philippines, the Mission asked her to reconsider the trip since Philippine officials would be in Geneva at the same time for the Universal Periodic Review.”
Abella said a “high-delegation led by a deputy executive secretary and a senator were expecting to see her in Geneva, that being the appropriate venue to meet.”
Callamard said on April 28 the Philippine government was officially informed of her visit to the country to take part in an academic conference on drug related issues.
“The Government of the Philippines replied with letters dated 29 April and 1 May, acknowledging reception of her letter and reacting to the information about her upcoming academic trip.
"Exchanges on this matter by phone, mail and email between my mandate and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines continued until 4 May," Callamard said.
She gave the reason for not accepting the invitation to conduct an official visit to the country.
"Last year, I rejected the conditions imposed by the Government on the visit, as they did not comply with the rules and methods of work of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council," she added.
Callamard said she still looks forward to a positive engagement with the Government of the Philippines. "I remain deeply committed to undertake an official visit to the country," she said. DMS