Call to United Nations to take immediate action on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines
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.
353 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.
**Notes to the editor
Original press release including signatories can be found 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