Crass comments from the president of the Philippines expressing a desire to massacre drug addicts like Hitler massacred Jews have infuriated people the world over.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews … There’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday in Davao after returning from Vietnam.
Even for Duterte, such a statement is unusually shocking. The president’s comment has drawn the ire and fury of many global leaders.
“What President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heart-breaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country,” said Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.
Lauder demanded that Duterte apologize for his insensitive comment, adding that Duterte’s statement was “revolting.”
“These comments by the Philippine president are shocking,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, explained in a statement. “The comparison of drug users and dealers to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is inappropriate and deeply offensive.”
“Hitler was a megalomaniac and a mass murderer … It is baffling why any leader would want to model himself after such a monster,” he added.
Any use of “the Holocaust and the suffering of the Holocaust in comparison to anything else, frankly, is inappropriate and needs to be rejected,” explained United Nations (U.N.) spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The fight against illegal narcotics must be carried out “in accordance with human rights standards,” he added.
Duterte should “exercise restraint in the use of language that could exacerbate discrimination, hostility, and violence and encourage criminal acts which, if widespread or systematic, could amount to crimes against humanity,” U.N. Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng said in response to Duterte’s outrageous statements.
“Any comparison of the singular atrocities of the Holocaust with anything else is totally unacceptable,” Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said in a statement. The German government also reportedly summoned the Philippines ambassador over the president’s statements.
“I find those comments deeply troubling,” Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on the sidelines of a regional security summit with Southeast Asian allies.
Human Rights Watch called Duterte’s statements “obscene.” “The lesson of the first three months of Duterte’s presidency is that we should not underestimate the impact of his statements on police and others with firearms to lawlessly slaughter their fellow Filipinos without fear of arrest,” Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said in a statement.
Duterte’s brutal war on drugs has already killed over 3,000 people, with the vast majority of those deaths being extrajudicial killings. Before he took office, the president promised to kill hundreds of thousands of people. Now, he has indicated that he would like to kill millions to supposedly “finish the problem of [his] country and save the next generation from perdition.”
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