By Xave Gregorio
Malacañang accused UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard of getting her position through connections with billionaire George Soros, who President Rodrigo Duterte said funds a hate campaign against him.
“I think Agnes Callamard will not deny it that she was appointed to her post largely also because of her connection with the Open Society [Foundations],” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing on Wednesday (January 3).
Soros founded and chairs the Open Society Foundations which, according to its website, “work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to its citizens.”
Callamard has worked for several Open Society Foundations funded organizations, having been Chef de Cabinet of Amnesty International’s Secretary General and director of Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression Project.
The Open Society Foundations website lists two grants to Amnesty International USA.
One of these is a three-year $750,000 grant “to build and mobilize, through grassroots education and advocacy, a movement of concerned individuals and communities dedicated to securing human rights protections in U.S. national security policies.”
Another is a one-year $125,000 grant to support Amnesty International’s Constituency Expansion Project.
Meanwhile, Columbia University’s Global Freedom of Expression Project lists Open Society Foundations as one of its sponsors, along with the European Center for Press and Media Freedom, Ford Foundation Institute of International Education and the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Duterte, in a speech delivered in November 2016, accused Soros of funding a plot to paint him as a mass murderer with his deadly war on drugs, which, according to Palace statistics, had killed eight people daily in police operations from July 1, 2016 to November 27, 2017.
Soros is a Hungarian-American investor who has made a fortune out of the crash of the UK currency in 1992 and had been accused of being instrumental to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.