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UN rapporteurs air concern over drug killings in Philippines

  • Estrella Torres

    Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

Manila   /   Fri, August 19, 2016   /  04:29 pm
UN rapporteurs air concern over drug killings in Philippines Residents undergo counseling after heeding a call of Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili to undergo processing allegedly for being drug-users July 18 at Tanauan city, Batangas province, south of Manila, Philippines. (AP/Bullit Marquez)

United Nations rights experts called on the Duterte administration to end targeted killings and extrajudicial executions of drug suspects, saying these constitute crime against international law.

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, raised concern over the rapid increase of people being killed in the Philippines, with 650 of them in the last six weeks alone amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

She said allegations of drug trafficking offenses should be decided by a court of law “not by gunmen on the streets.”

“We call on the Philippine authorities to adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions,” Callamard said in a statement on Thursday.

She said killings in line with the fight against illegal drugs “do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.”

“The state has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offenses or not,” she said.

Dainius Puras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, said drug dependence should be treated as a public health issue.

Puras said “responses to the illicit drug trade must be carried out in full compliance with national and international obligations and should respect the human rights of each person.”

The Geneva-based UN special rapporteurs said Duterte’s recent public condemnation of vigilante justice “is not enough.”

“All allegations of killings and extrajudicial executions must be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Perpetrators and instigators must be sanctioned without exception,” they said.

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