More than 300 NGOs call on the United Nations to take immediate action on the hundreds of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the PhilippinesCivil 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 May 10, 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 Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign pledge to eradicate crime within six months.
Duterte was elected President on May 30 and began his presidential term on June 30. He declared a War On Drugs in which both police and civilians are encouraged to kill drug user/traffickers. Duterte has even promised to pardon those who carry out the killings.
At least 704 people have been killed between May 10 and July 29, 2016, reports ABS CBN News.Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said 60,000 “drug dependents” have surrendered to authorities, according to the Daily Mail; this, of course, is quite understandable, since they are apparently being gunned down in the streets like dogs.
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.”
More than 300 non-governmental organisations on Tuesday sent an open letter to the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, and the INCB President, 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.”
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 fulfill 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 offenses.
- Amnesty International, 10 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, 25 July: President Duterte’s Mixed Messages on Rights in the Philippines
- Human Rights Watch, 12 July: Philippine Officials Shrug at Surge in Drug Killings
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates & Citizen’s Council for Human Rights, 14 July: Stop the bloodshed, human rights defenders tell Duterte
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates & Citizen’s Council for Human Rights, 14 July: Extra Judicial Killings: Normalizing Criminality Under the Guise of Peace and Order
Statements by drug policy groups:
- Drug Policy Alliance, 25 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