Mr Trump’s Main Preoccupation During His Tour Seemed to be Trade, not Human Rights


Trump Asia tour focuses on trade, not human rights.

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When a president who boasted he could shoot someone in central New York and still get elected meets another president who boasts he has actually killed people, and remains popular and in office, you know not to expect much on human rights.

And so it proved in the much-anticipated meeting of US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Over the past year and a half, many thousands – the actual numbers are hard to calculate exactly – of people have been killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs, some of them children, some with only scant evidence of any connection to the drug trade.

They have been killed by police officers, supposedly shooting in self-defence, but the almost universal similarity of the police accounts of these killings suggests many are extra-judicial executions.

They have been killed by masked gunmen, some of whom are linked to the police, or may be non-uniformed police officers. It is a human rights catastrophe, but one President Duterte has defended as necessary to rid the Philippines of its drug addiction problem.

After making mild criticism of the killings last year, then-US President Barack Obama received a tongue-lashing from Mr Duterte, who memorably referred to him as a “son of a whore”.

The irascible Philippine president warned he would do the same if President Trump raised the issue. But he need not have worried.



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