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Duterte needs psychiatric evaluation —UN rights chief

The United Nations human rights chief said Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte, who has launched profanity-laced diatribes against UN rapporteurs, needs "psychiatric evaluation."

Listing some of Manila's actions against UN officials, rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said "it makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation."

Zeid and other UN rights officials have focused significant attention on Duterte's controversial anti-narcotic war. 

Police have killed more than 4,100 drug suspects, but rights groups alleged more than 8,000 others have been murdered in what they describe as crimes against humanity.

The UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, Agnes Callamard, has become a particular Duterte target over her criticism of his campaign to stamp out illegal drugs. 

In an exchange with Manila's envoys in the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Zeid referred to November media reports from the Philippines that quoted Duterte threatening to slap Callamard.  

"These attacks cannot go unanswered," Zeid told reporters on Friday.

In Manila, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the Philippines was taking grave exception to the irresponsible and disrespectful comments... that cast untoward aspersions regarding the President of the Republic of the Philippines."

"This action of High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein is completely uncalled for and demeans not only the Head of State of a Member-State, but tarnishes the reputation of the Office of the High Commissioner," Cayetano said in a statement.

"The comments of the High Commissioner bring great dishonor to the Human Rights Council and its noble endeavors. There is no reason whatsoever  for such an unmeasured outburst directed against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and it should not be repeated," he added.

Cayetano said Zeid's remarks "could set a dangerous precedent that the Council would have to immediately address as otherwise member-states could also fall victim to those who seek to politicize and weaponize human rights to undermine legitimate governments."

"The Philippines is perturbed over the manner in which a ranking UN human rights official can overstep his mandate and insult leaders of member-states without first giving them due process," Cayetano said. —Agence France-Presse