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Canada PM Brings Up Human Rights With Philippine President

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he brought up human rights issues with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte after US leader Donald Trump failed to do so.

Canadian PM Justine Trudea and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

The three were attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] meeting in Manila, also the tail end of Trump's 12-day Asia tour.

Trudeau held a closed-door meeting with the often-bombastic Duterte met with the US leader.

"I also mentioned human rights, the rule of law and specifically extrajudicial killings as being an issue that Canada is concerned with... [Duterte] was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange," Trudeau said to reporters.

The US and its neighbor to the north have had drastically different views on a number of issues during the Trump administration - climate change, the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA], and human rights to name a few.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the leaders "briefly" discussed human rights during their 40-minute Manila meeting, but details were not provided.

The joint statement from the US and Philippines only said the "two sides underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programs".

Senator John McCain slammed the President for not publicly addressing the issue with Duterte in a tweet.

The Philippines and Canada only trade about $1.5bn (£1.14bn) a year, but Trudeau was the first Canadian leader to participate in ASEAN in order to gain better ties to the region, as Bloomberg News reported.

Trudeau also brought up the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, also an ASEAN member. Reports of village burning, rape, and murder abound as more than 600,000 have fled over the border seeking refuge in Bangladesh.

The Philippines leader recently admitted to killing someone when he was 16 years old and in 2016 said he would "happy to slaughter" millions of people in the drug war.

Duterte won last year's presidential elections after promising to eradicate illegal drugs with an unprecedented crackdown that would see up to 100,000 people killed.

Since the 72-year-old took office 16 months ago, police say they have killed 3,967 people. Another 2,290 people were murdered in drug-related crimes, while thousands of other deaths remain unsolved, according to government data.

But, Duterte said he does not "care about what the human rights guys say".

"I have a duty to preserve the [next] generation. If it involves human rights, I don't give a sh*t," he said.

Duterte also claimed during a speech in front of the Filipino community in Vietnam, on a side visit while attending the Asia Pacific Economic Forum [APEC] forum - that he would "slap" a UN human rights representative who questioned his drug war for human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.

Trump described his rapport with Duterte as a "great relationship."

The pair had what many called an eyebrow-raising phone call in April of this year during which Trump praised his counterpart's drug war policies and also discussed North Korea.

His spokesman said Trump "appeared sympathetic" to country's drug problem, facing one at home as well in the opioid crisis.

Duterte - despite what experts note is a lifetime of anti-American sentiment - stressed to Trump that the Philippines is "an important ally" in the region. He then also sang a hit Filipino love song to Trump, in an awkward moment of diplomacy.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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