Human rights groups condemned the Philippine president on Tuesday for saying that troops should shoot female communist rebels in the genitals to render them “useless,” which they said could encourage sexual violence and war crimes.
The left-wing group Karapatan said President Rodrigo Duterte “has distinguished himself as a frothing-in-the-mouth fascist who incites the worst violations of international humanitarian law.”
Duterte’s remarks “are but the latest of the series of this madman’s display of tyranny, lunacy and machismo,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.
The U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch said the remark last week was the latest in a “series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women” that encourage state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflicts.
In a rambling speech before surrendered communist rebels, Duterte spoke about the futility of their decades-old insurgency and how his administration can help them return to normal life.
Duterte asked why even women join the insurgency and abandon their families. At one point, he said without elaborating: “Tell the soldiers. There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina so that … if there is no vagina, it would be useless.”