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    March 16, 2018

    Jerryme Corre is back home in Angeles City, Pampanga with his wife and step children after 6 years behind bars in the Philippines on false drug charges. Jerryme was subjected to ruthless torture at the hands of police in 2012 after being falsely arrested while visiting his aunt’s house on his day off. He was rushed by more than ten armed police officers in plainclothes, who beat him in the street before taking him back to a police station. There, they beat the soles of his feet with a wooden baton, removed his shorts and used them to suffocate him, ‘waterboarded’ him and zapped him with electric wires for hours. During his interrogation, they repeatedly called him by the wrong name. Eventually an official arrived to identify him and told police they had arrested the wrong man, but they charged him anyway, and forced him to sign a confession that he wasn’t allowed to read. Despite a court ruling in 2016 that he had been tortured by police, the drug charges against him were not dropped and he was forced to remain in jail until March 2nd, 2018 when a motion to dismiss his case was granted due to lack of evidence.

    March 14, 2018

    Responding to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to withdraw the country from the International Criminal Court today (ICC), Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific James Gomez said:

    “This is a misguided and deeply regrettable move by President Duterte, and the latest signal that powerful individuals in the Philippines are more interested in covering up their own potential accountability for killings than they are in ensuring justice for the many victims of the country’s brutal ‘war on drugs’.

    “Fortunately for those victims, Duterte’s announced withdrawal comes too late to stop the ICC’s preliminary examination and the Philippines’ obligations towards the court.

    “Duterte cannot stop international accountability in the Philippines simply by deleting his signature from the Rome Statute.

    “If the Philippines truly believed that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the country, they should challenge that in the proper way – which is at the ICC. Instead, they have taken the cowardly option of trying to evade justice.”


    February 23, 2018

    The Philippines authorities must immediately drop all charges and release prisoner of conscience Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of President Duterte who has been jailed on politically motivated drug charges, Amnesty International said ahead of the anniversary of her arrest.

    Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on 24 February 2017 on three separate spurious charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. In the lead up to her arrest, President Duterte and other supporters had led a vicious campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Senator and falsely tried to implicate her in the drug trade.

    "The charges against Senator Leila de Lima are pure fiction. She has been singled out and targeted for nothing but her courageous opposition to President Duterte's appalling policies. We consider her to be a prisoner of conscience and urge the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 30, 2018

    Responding to the news that police have resumed their role in implementing the so-called “war on drugs” declared by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez said:

    “Since President Duterte came to power, police have unlawfully killed thousands of people, the vast majority of them from poor and marginalised communities, in attacks so extensive and brutal they may well amount to crimes against humanity. Now that police are once more returning to the forefront of anti-drug operations, the government must make sure that there is no repeat of the bloodshed seen during the past 18 months.

    “To date, police have been allowed to operate in a culture of almost total impunity. It is a positive step by the Department of Justice to file murder charges against three police officers accused of killing Kian Loyd delos Santos, the teenager whose death is emblematic of the horrors of the ‘war on drugs.’ But independent investigations must cover each of the thousands of other unlawful killings, and all perpetrators, including those in positions of command, must be held to account.

    January 15, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the Philippines authorities have ordered the closure of the independent media outlet Rappler, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The moves by the Philippines authorities to shut down Rappler is an alarming attempt to silence independent journalism. The government must immediately reverse this decision and end all efforts to stifle free press in the country.

    “This is a politically motivated decision, pure and simple, and just the latest attempt to go after anyone who dares to criticise the government. Rappler has been fearless in holding those in power to account, including by consistently criticising the government’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It has faced persistent harassment by government supporters and even the President himself.

    “The Philippines government should focus on ending and investigating violations, mostly against poor communities, in the ‘war on drugs’, not trying to silence the messenger.”


    December 13, 2017

    Responding to the Philippine Congress’ approval of President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in the southern region of Mindanao until the end of 2018 in order to “eradicate” Islamist militants, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:

    “Civilians in Mindanao have faced unlawful killings, destruction of their homes, ill-treatment and numerous other human rights abuses at the hands of Philippine armed forces and Islamist militants since the imposition of martial law. The length of this latest extension, until the end of 2018, is an ominous move that almost certainly signals further abuses in the months ahead.

    “Violations in the battle of Marawi, in northern Mindanao, have been carried out with impunity, while there has been a disturbing rise in killings of human rights defenders and political activists across the region in recent months.

    “President Duterte, who is already responsible for thousands of unlawful killings in his so-called ‘war on drugs’, must not use martial law as a pretext to commit further violations in Mindanao without any accountability.

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the news that President Duterte has ordered the police to resume their role in supporting his administration’s so-called “war on drugs,” James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “In returning police to his anti-drug operations yet again, President Duterte has consigned the poorest and most marginalised people in the Philippines to another catastrophic wave of violence, misery and bloodshed.

    “Since the police were withdrawn from anti-drug operations in October, there has been a marked decline in the number of deaths resulting from these operations. We can only expect that to reverse, as the police have the opportunity to pick up where they left off and resume their indiscriminate killing with impunity.

    November 17, 2017

    Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.

    The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.

    Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law. 

    September 06, 2017

    Responding to the discovery of the body in Gapan City of Reynaldo de Guzman, a 14-year-old boy who had been missing for nearly three weeks, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:

    “How many more children must die in the Philippines to end this horrific and heartless violence? Reynaldo de Guzman’s family has had to endure the anxiety of his disappearance followed by the unimaginable grief of discovering his body with stab wounds and his head wrapped in packing tape. This is not an isolated case or a mistake, but the latest atrocity in a wave of unlawful killings that has claimed the lives of more than 50 children and thousands of other Filipinos.

    August 24, 2017
      A hearing today in the Philippines Senate has exposed the abysmal failings of the police to protect children from the deadly consequences of the “war on drugs”, Amnesty International said.   The Senate hearing convened to address last week’s police killing of the 17-year-old student Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a case which has triggered widespread national and international outrage. Although police claim the killing was done in self-defence, CCTV footage and eyewitnesses have seriously called this into question.   “Kian’s death has rightly sparked a national outcry and public trust in the police is at an all-time low. The only way to address this is for the Philippines authorities to end all deadly drug operations, and return to return to an approach anchored on due process and rule of law,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
    August 16, 2017

    After Philippine police killed 32 people in what is believed to be the highest death toll in a single day in President Rodrigo Duterte's so-called "war on drugs", Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:

    "These shocking deaths are a reminder that President Duterte's lawless 'war on drugs' continues unabated and actually appears to be plumbing new depths of barbarity, with police routinely gunning down suspects, violating the key right to life and completely flouting due process.

    "No one is bearing the brunt of this brutality more than the poorest communities in areas such as Bulacan province, a hotspot for extrajudicial executions since the president took power, and the scene of 21 of yesterday's 32 killings.

    "Duterte‘s recent statement that he might not be able to solve the Philippines' drug-related problems during his current term are very concerning. With the indefinite extension of this failed strategy there is seemingly no end in sight to these killings.

    July 24, 2017
      The Philippine government must ensure that human rights are protected during its campaign against militants in Mindanao, as martial law remains in place, Amnesty International said today.   President Rodrigo Duterte today extended martial law in the southern island of Mindanao first imposed on 23 May 2016, for a further six months, to 31 December 2017. Since 23 May, Philippines armed forces have battled against the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State, in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao Del Sur province in northern Mindanao. The extension followed a vote by lawmakers at a special joint session in Congress.   “Ongoing martial law in Mindanao must not mean that human rights take a back seat at a time when people need crucial protections more than ever. The Philippines armed forces must show the utmost restraint to ensure that civilians are safeguarded during operations in Marawi” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
    June 29, 2017
    Since assuming the presidency of the Philippines a year ago, Rodrigo Duterte and his administration have presided over a wide range of human rights of violations, intimidated and imprisoned critics, and created a climate of lawlessness, Amnesty International said today.

      Using the highest office in the country, Duterte has explicitly approved violence that has led to thousands of extrajudicial executions, in the government’s anti-drug campaign. This surpasses even the number of people killed during the murderous rule of Ferdinand Marcos from 1972-1981.   “Duterte came to power vowing to rid the Philippines of crime. Instead, people have been killed in the thousands by - or at the behest of - a police force that acts outside the law, on the orders of a President who has shown nothing but contempt for human rights and the people who stand up for them,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
    June 26, 2017

    The human rights situation in the Philippines has deteriorated significantly following the launch of a violent anti-drug campaign by President Rodrigo Duterte shortly after he took office almost one year ago on June 30, 2016. 

    Last February, Matt Wells, Amnesty’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor, blogged about the impact of the “war on drugs”. Follow Matt on Twitter @MattFWells.

    As Analyn* was preparing a bottle of milk for her infant child, she heard a knock at the door. One of her husband’s friends answered it. She heard him say, “Sir, please don’t. There’s nothing here,” – and then a gunshot. The police stormed the house, shooting and killing 4 more men, including her husband.


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