Philippines: failure to investigate killings demands UN action

The ICJ today joined other NGOs in urging the UN Human Rights Council to take action on the Philippines.

The joint oral statement was delivered by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) on behalf of OMCT, Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Franciscans International, Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), FORUM-Asia. It read as follows:

“In March 2019, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that several sources “estimate that up to 27,000 people may have been killed in the context of the campaign against illegal drugs since mid-2016.”

Unlawful killings, including of children, carry on, and President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration continue to explicitly encourage these acts. In June 2019, the scale and seriousness of the reported human rights violations prompted 11 UN human rights experts to call on the Council to establish an independent investigation into such violations.

Intimidations by government officials at the highest levels against politicians, human rights defenders, journalists, and several Special Procedures mandate holders have also been rising.

At the 35th, 36th, and 38th sessions of the Council, Iceland, on behalf of a group of States, explicitly called on the government “to take all necessary measures to bring killings associated with the campaign against illegal drugs to an end and cooperate with the international community to investigate all related deaths and hold perpetrators accountable.”

In light of the failure of the government to effectively investigate and bring to justice those responsible, we urge all States to support the adoption of a resolution on the Philippines at this session, mandating the OHCHR to monitor and provide regular updates on the human rights situation to the Council, as the first step toward establishing an independent international investigation into extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations committed in the government’s ‘war on drugs.’.

Such a response is all the more important given the Philippines obligations to uphold the highest standards in human rights as a member of the Council.”

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