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.
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.
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.
Following today’s suspension of more than a dozen police officers and the announcement of an internal investigation into revelations that 12 people were detained illegally in a cramped “secret jail cell” in Manila on drugs-related charges, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
With mounting evidence of government involvement in thousands of extrajudicial executions in Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, Amnesty International is calling on regional leaders to take a stand against possible crimes against humanity as they meet at the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila this week.
“While they meet in their comfortable surroundings, ASEAN leaders should spare a thought for the thousands of people who have been killed as part of Duterte’s brutal crackdown. The vast majority are from marginalized and neglected communities, making it effectively a war on the poor,” said Champa Patel, Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International.
“As the death toll mounts, so does evidence of the Philippines authorities’ role in the bloodshed. That the Philippines is chairing the ASEAN Summit against this horrifying backdrop is a scandal, and should prompt the government to make independent and effective investigations into unlawful killings an immediate priority. They must send a clear message that there will be accountability and an end to such shocking violations.”
The adoption of a draft law by the Philippine House of Representatives to revive the death penalty sets the country on a dangerous path in flagrant violation of its international legal obligations, Amnesty International said today.
“The idea that the death penalty will rid the country of drugs is simply wrong. The resumption of executions will not rid the Philippines of problems associated with drugs or deter crime. It is an inhumane, ineffective punishment and is never the solution. The Philippines’ attempts to reintroduce it are clearly unlawful. This will just earn the country notoriety as one of the few countries to revive its horrific use,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Today, the House of Representatives of the Philippines adopted on its third and final reading of House Bill 4727, a measure put forward by President Duterte’s majority coalition to reintroduce the death penalty.
Responding to comments from the Philippines’ Senate on Amnesty International's latest report, "If you are poor, you are killed”: Extrajudicial executions in the Philippines’ “War on Drugs”, Champa Patel, the human rights organization's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said:
"Amnesty International continues to call on the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights to re-open its enquiry on extrajudicial executions in the context of the so-called war on drugs.
"Any steps towards credible investigations, that will see accountability of those involved in the serious crimes documented in our latest report, will be a positive move. In the Philippines, what we found are patterns of human rights violations - deliberate and widespread killings, which appear to be systematic, planned and organized by authorities in the anti-drug campaign. And that these may constitute crimes against humanity.
Acting on instructions from the very top of government, the Philippines police have killed and paid others to kill thousands of alleged drug offenders in a wave of extrajudicial executions that may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International said in a report published today.
Amnesty International’s investigation, “If you are poor you are killed”: Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines’ “War on Drugs” details how the police have systematically targeted mostly poor and defenceless people across the country while planting “evidence”, recruiting paid killers, stealing from the people they kill and fabricating official incident reports.
Responding to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s and the police’s announcements that they are suspending anti-drug operations, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan said:
“Even as the police have vowed to shut their operations down, President Duterte has pledged to continue his so-called ‘war on drugs’. These contradictory statements offer little hope that the wave of extrajudicial executions that has claimed more than a thousand lives a month will end.
“It is no secret that corruption is rife among the police. As our report, out tomorrow, shows, the people who are tasked with upholding law and order have planted ‘evidence’, robbed victims’ homes and falsified reports. But the ultimate responsibility for the police’s actions lies at the very top of government. The problem is not a few bad policemen but the government’s deadly anti-drug policy.”
Responding to claims made by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he “personally” killed suspected criminals while serving as mayor of the city of Davao, Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International's Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said:
“President Duterte’s claim that he has personally killed suspected criminals takes the meaning of “state-sanctioned” violence to a whole new level. The climate of impunity in the Philippines has intensified even further since President Duterte began his brutal crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers in July, with a wave of unlawful killings claiming more than 5,000 lives across the country. By boasting about the blood on his own hands, President Duterte will further embolden police and vigilantes to blatantly violate laws and carry out more extrajudicial executions without fear of being held to account.
Indonesia’s authorities must immediately repeal provisions that allow sex offenders to be punished by forced chemical castration and even the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.
“The sexual abuse of children is indescribably horrific. But subjecting offenders to chemical castration or executions is not justice, it is adding one cruelty to another,” said Papang Hidayat, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Indonesia.
Chemical castration is a drug or hormone treatment to suppress sex drive. Imposing it by law without informed consent as a punitive measure would be a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
“Forced chemical castration is a violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law,” said Papang Hidayat.
“The expansion of the scope of the death penalty is inconsistent with Indonesia’s international obligations which protects the right to life. Further given the serious flaws in Indonesia’s justice system the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.”
100 days after Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines, a wave of unlawful killings has already claimed more than 3,000 lives, shattering progress on human rights in the country, Amnesty International said today.
“Rodrigo Duterte’s first 100 days as president have been marked by state-sanctioned violence on a truly shocking scale. His brutal crackdown on those allegedly involved in drug crimes has led to carnage on the streets and the obliteration of key human rights, including the right to life and to due process,” said Rafendi Djamin, Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International.
“Since he was elected President Duterte has actively created a climate where anyone can kill, or be killed, in the name of the ‘war on drugs’. This mass killing must end immediately and all those responsible, at all levels of command, must be brought to justice.”
Responding to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest outburst, where he likened himself to Hitler and vowed to “slaughter” three million people, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
“With this latest outburst, President Duterte has sunk to new depths. Governments - both in the region and around the world – should speak out immediately and condemn these outrageous statements. The words President Duterte used are not just extremely distasteful, they are extremely dangerous. They serve no discernible purpose other than to put more lives at risk.
“Since coming to power, there has been a surge of state-sanctioned violence and unlawful killings across the Philippines. Instead of stopping and condemning these human rights violations, and ensuring those responsible are held to account, he has vowed to escalate them. Mass killing under President Duterte must end.”