32 European countries express ‘deep concerns’ over Duterte’s bloody drug war

June 9, 2017 - 9:09 PM
President Duterte
President Rodrigo Duterte/Reuters file photo

At the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Högni S. Kristjánsson, the Permanent Representative of Iceland, delivered a statement touching on the “high number of killings associated with the so-called ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines.”

The Statement was delivered by Mr. Kristjánsson on behalf of the following member countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Excerpts from the statement follow:

We wish to express our deep concerns over the high number of killings associated with the so-called ‘war on drugs’ in the Philippines.

We have noted the statements made on that issue and regarding the human rights situation in general by the High Commissioner [including again this session] as well a number of the Special Procedures of this Council.

We are alarmed that over 7000 people have reportedly been killed since the anti-drug campaign was launched last July, many in circumstances, which remain, unexplained. Further, we are concerned at the lack of appropriate investigation into or, accountability for these killings, contrary to basic democratic safeguards and the rule of law.

While understanding the negative implications of drug addiction and its consequences in the Philippines, any efforts to respond to the challenge of illicit drugs must be carried out in full compliance with due process and international human rights law. We call upon the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring these killings to an end and to ensure prompt, independent and credible investigations into all violent deaths.

We share the concerns of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding harassment, intimidation, threats and killings of human rights defenders in the Philippines and are dismayed at public statements which threaten or appear to support the murder of journalists, human rights defenders or other members of civil society. We urge the Philippines to take immediate steps to create and maintain in law and in practice a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.

We further stress that sexual violence can never be tolerated and call on the Government to strongly condemn the use of sexual violence in conflict.

We would like to underline, that as a member of the HRC, the Philippines is expected to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms. In this regard, we urge the Philippines to accept a visit from the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, without preconditions or limitations.

We further urge and look forward to a positive response by the Philippines regarding recommendations received during its recent UPR, in particular those relating to rule of law and the issue of unexplained violent deaths. We encourage the Philippines to request technical assistance in this regard, if necessary.