LONDON (2nd August 2016) – Civil society groups from across the globe,including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on UN drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since 10th May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of recently-elected President Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months.
Until now, however, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) – the UN agencies responsible for global drug control – have failed to condemn the Philippines for these gross human rights violations committed in the name of drug control.
329 non-governmental organisations today sent an open letter to the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and the INCB President, Mr. Werner Sipp, asking them to take immediate action aimed at putting a stop to the extrajudicial killings.
“We are calling on the UN drug control bodies to publicly condemn these atrocities in the Philippines. This senseless killing cannot be justified as a drug control measure”, said Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium. “Their silence is unacceptable, while people are being killed on the streets day after day”, she continued.
The open letter asks the UNODC and the INCB to call on President Duterte to:
- Immediately end the incitements to kill people suspected of using or dealing drugs,
- Act to fulfil international human rights obligations, such as the rights to life, health, due process and a fair trial, as set out in the human rights treaties ratified by the Philippines,
- Promote evidence-based, voluntary treatment and harm reduction services for people who use drugs instead of compulsory rehabilitation in military camps, and
- Not to reinstate the death penalty for drug offences.
Watch Next: Fighting The Worldwide Drug Epidemic https://youtu.be/tPTaubNQpd0?list=PLZ…
Thousands of people have been dragged from their homes and executed on the streets since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a new war on drugs. Police are allegedly playing both sides of the war, while contract killers do the dirty work and users surrender to jail cells, in fear of their lives. Follow along with photojournalists on the front lines of the murder beat, where killings are a daily occurrence and the streets run with blood.
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Notes to the editor:
The open letter is available here:
Key data on the Philippines drug policy crisis:
- President Rodrigo Duterte was elected President on 30th May 2016 and began his presidential term on 30th June. He declared a war on drugs in which both police and civilians are encouraged to kill drug user/traffickers
- 704 people have been killed between the 10th of May 2016 to the 29th of July 2016 (ABS CBN News)
- Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said 60,000 drug dependents have surrendered to authorities (Daily Mail).
Statements by international human rights groups:
- Amnesty International, 10th May: Philippines: New President should break cycle of human rights violations, not compound them
- Amnesty International, 30 June: Philippines: President Duterte must break the cycle of human rights violations
- Human Rights Watch, 25th July: President Duterte’s Mixed Messages on Rights in the Philippines
- Human Rights Watch, 12th July: Philippine Officials Shrug at Surge in Drug Killings
Statements by local human right groups:
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates & Citizen’s Council for Human Rights, 14th July: Stop the bloodshed, human rights defenders tell Duterte
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates & Citizen’s Council for Human Rights, 14th July: Extra Judicial Killings: Normalizing Criminality Under the Guise of Peace and Order
Statements by drug policy groups:
- Drug Policy Alliance, 25th July: Philippines President Makes Good on Pledge to Mass Murder People Who Use or Sell Drugs, Calls for “No Mercy” in State of the Nation Address
- Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs & International Network of People Who Use Drugs, July: Philippines: An Entreaty to End the Killing, to End the Poverty and Exclusion
Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.
Read the source and comments: http://idpc.net/media/press-releases/2016/08/over-300-ngos-call-on-the-united-nations-to-take-immediate-action-on-the-hundreds-of-extrajudicial-killings-of-suspected-drug-offenders-in-the-philippines
Heartrending picture reveals true cost of Philippines’ war on drugs: Grieving wife cradles dead husband executed without trial
WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES: The scene is closed off with police tape as she whispers her final goodbyes into the ear of her loved one – but cops have no interest in investigating
A wife overcome with grief cradles the lifeless body of her dead husband in her arms – yet another ‘accused criminal executed without trial ‘ in the brutal Philippines’ war on drugs.
The unnamed man was gunned down by armed assailants on a motorbike – believing him to be peddling drugs – in a busy main thoroughfare in Manila.
Tears streaming down her face, the wife of the victim insists he was not dealing drugs – and nothing more than a cab driver going about his daily business – when he was shot dead in front of her.
The scene is closed off with police tape – as stunned bystanders look on – as she whispers her final goodbyes into the ear of her loved one as his body grows cold.
But the police will have no interest in investigating what’s happened.
In fact the gunmen will not likely be hunted down or face any criminal proceedings whatsoever.
The truth is, it might have even been a member of the police who killed him – or a member of the public operating under the ‘free to execute the guilty’ policy of the nation’s new president.
As a response the police are believed to have formed so-called ‘death squads’ to be judge, jury and execuitioner – with no need for a fair trial – in their war on illegal drugs.
Duterte has granted cops immunity from prosecution in his draconian attempt to stop the country being choked by a drug epidemic – despite concerns he has in his bid also legitimised mass murder.
Top Filipino human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno warned last week that Duterte had “spawned a nuclear explosion of violence that is spiralling out of control and creating a nation without judges”.
It’s no wonder he is also nicknamed ‘The Punisher’.
When Duterte came into power in May the Mirror Online reported that he had vowed to behead the bodies of dead criminals , feed them to sharks and previously uses vigilante ‘death squads’.
His zero tolerance approach to law and order doesn’t even attempt to disguise his extreme capital punishment agenda for tackling serious crime.
Indeed, he was elected on a pledge of wiping out 100,000 criminals within six months.
These harrowing pictures reveal that he has began that quest in earnest.
Gruesome images of dead bodies lying in the street displaying ‘I’m a pusher’ signs on their chests have emerged in his first weeks in power.
More than 300 people are now known to have died – many more suspected – since the beginning of this month in response to his call to action.
In one of the deadliest incidents, police boast they killed eight ‘drug personalities’ in a pre-dawn raid in a small town outside Manila on Saturday.
As well as mobilising cops, Duterte has urged ordinary citizens to ‘go ahead and kill’ drug dealers and users.
Almost 60,000 Filipino drug addicts – fearing for their lives – have as a consequence now surrendered themselves to the government before they are shot dead.
They can be seen in photos stripped to their underwear – with their hands and feet tied – some with their faces covered in tape and their clothes drenched with blood.
In his first state of the nation address to parliament Duterte declared drugs were “drowning his country” – and had to be stopped whatever the cost.
Making it clear he would pardon police if they were charged with human rights violations for carrying out his orders, Duterte told his police force: “Double your efforts. Triple them if need be.”
“We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars… or below ground if you wish.”
At least 43,000 ‘drug traffickers’ are reported to have been ‘neutralised’ while 300kg of Shabu – a type of highly-addictive methamphetamine – has been confiscated.
Official figures released say that more than 110 drug suspects have died since the president came to power – while local news reports that figure is nearer 200 and human rights groups say the figure is nearer 300, not including reprisals.
They are strongly protesting against the summary executions without fair trial – but Duterte apparently has no interest in listening.
Read the source and comments: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/heartrending-picture-reveals-true-cost-8513236
De Lima calls for end to killings
“I must admit, the public reaction to these executions is not in favor of those who oppose it. A 91% approval rating for the President and what he stands for is a formidable record. But we cannot base our reactions to these killings on the popularity of the President. Popular or not, MURDER MUST STOP. S-T-O-P. STOP. Stop the killings now!” De Lima said in her first privilege speech.
“There might not be a manifest public outcry, but there is definitely a seething undercurrent of remonstration against the disregard for human life,” she said.
De Lima recognized that the government must wage war against drugs but she said it could not be done with blood.
“Yes, Mr. President, indeed, we must wage this war against drugs. But there must be another way. There has to be another way. There must be a way other than this method that brings us to our collective descent into impunity, fear, and ultimately, utter and complete inhumanity,” she said.
“We cannot wage the war against drugs with blood. We will only be trading drug addiction with another more malevolent kind of addiction. This is the compulsion for more killing, killings that have now included the innocent…”
“As a human rights advocate and human being, I plead to the government, this administration, and to the President. There must be another way. There has to be another way. We must find another way,” she said.
De Lima said she was not only concerned by the killings tallied by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as she expressed her “gravest” concern over the deaths allegedly perpetrated by the vigilante groups.
She then enumerated some of the killings allegedly carried out by vigilantes.
As for the killings carried out supposedly in pursuit of police work, De lima noted the usual explanation that the executions were done in the course of legitimate law enforcement operations.
“Nanlaban daw. Nakipagbarilan daw. Nang-agaw daw ng baril habang naka-posas. Pero alam naman natin na minsan ay style bulok na yang mga paliwanag na yan,” she said.
“We are aware of incidents of police rub-outs. We know about the shortcuts taken by some law enforcers in the guise of self-defense. The use of force, it appears in some cases, may not be necessary, or, if necessary, was not proportional.”
“We still have a system of law that processes and punishes wrongdoers. We have our Bill of Rights that accord the right to be presumed innocent. What is worrisome in this situation is that the war on drugs is becoming a convenient pretext for misguided or utterly corrupt law enforcers to kill just any one,” said the senator.
De Lima said if the administration was sincerely concerned about the spate of killings, then she said it should welcome an investigation by the Senate committee on justice, which she chairs.
“We must call for the accountability of state actors responsible for this terrifying trend in law enforcement, and the investigation of killings perpetrated by the vigilante assassins,” she added.
Read the source and comments: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/802162/de-lima-calls-for-end-to-killings
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