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World | National

HRW questions Trumps’ choice for State over reluctance to acknowledge rights abuses

Rex Tillerson (Reuters)
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- An international watchdog group questioned if former oil executive Rex Tillerson can effectively serve as US Secretary of State, noting his “reluctance to acknowledge human rights abuses by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.”

“Numerous independent observers, United Nations investigators, media, and humanitarian and human rights groups have published extensive and detailed reporting about the Russian government’s highly problematic domestic human rights record and war crimes in Syria, Saudi Arabia’s extraordinary discrimination against women and repression of peaceful dissent, and the Philippines government’s abusive ‘war on drugs’ which has resulted in the killings of more than 6,200 suspected drug users in the last six months,” Sarah Margon, Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said of Tillerson’s responses at his confirmation hearing.

“Rex Tillerson’s reluctance to acknowledge human rights abuses by Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines raises serious questions about whether he can effectively serve as Secretary of State,” Margon said.

HRW has been keeping close tabs on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has claimed more than 6,000 lives since July. The group has earned Duterte’s ire since it began documenting and railing against a deadly campaign against crime suspects waged by the shadowy “Davao Death Squad” when he was still mayor of Davao City.

“Tillerson’s claims that he cannot pass judgment on these counties’ abuses until he has access to US intelligence briefings ignores the US government’s own previous findings and suggests that Tillerson is either ill-informed or apathetic to human rights issues worldwide,” Margon said.