Monday, 20 November, 2017

HRW: Philippines police falsify evidence to justify 'war on drugs' killings

Philippines: Police plant evidence to justify drug war killings – HRW Duterte War On Drugs: Philippines Police Plant Drugs And Weapons On Victims To Justify Extrajudicial Killings, Says Report
Saul Franklin | 04 March, 2017, 01:04

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a civil rights watchdog group, has accused the Philippines police of planting evidence to justify extrajudicial killings carried out as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

Before an audience composed of representatives and leaders of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce, President Rodrigo Duterte stressed Friday that there is not stepping back or letup in the renewed campaign against illegal drugs.

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at HRW and author of the report, said investigations into the drug war found that police "routinely kill" drug suspects unlawfully and then cover up the crime. We asked him how he was able to track the police killing squads.

To worldwide donors, HRW recommended that they stop providing funding and assistance to the PNP until all the drug war-related killings stop. Police say these killings resulted from legitimate police operations where most of the slain suspects shot it out (nanlaban) with authorities.

The report recommended an independent United Nations investigation, an end to the war on drugs, an internal investigation, and a boycott of any form of assistance to the Philippine National Police until such investigations are completed. The government has reportedly not charged a single police officer over any of the killings.

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"Duterte's "war on drugs" could more aptly be described as crimes against humanity targeting the urban poor", Bouckaert said.

With this, HRW urged the United Nations to create an independent, global investigation into the killings to determine responsibility, and ensure mechanisms for accountability. "Whether local outrage, global pressure, or an worldwide inquiry brings these killings to an end, someday they will stop and those responsible will be brought to justice". In 2009, the human rights organization released "You can die any time: Death Squad Killings in Mindanao" which tackled the vigilante killings attributed to the Davao Death Squad and the then Davao city mayor's alleged involvement in it.

The President has made a decision to "call back" selected policemen to the government's war on illegal drugs amid reports of rise in drug activities on the streets.

"Foreign courts acting on the basis of universal jurisdiction or worldwide criminal tribunals, including the global Criminal Court, are in no way bound by domestic grants of immunity, and may prosecute protected wrongdoers as well as officials implicated on grounds of superior responsibility", the report said.

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