A GROUP of international lawyers on Thursday, November 30, called on the Philippine government to stop the alleged killings and human rights abuses under its controversial anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), in a resolution, made note that human rights violations persist in the country, as showed by “several credible reports and documentation.”
Such violations, the group claimed, were carried on through extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, and internal displacement.
“According to various reports, the number of individuals suspected to be involved in illegal drugs who apparently fell victims to extrajudicial or summary killings during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte ranges from 8,000 to 12,000 dead,” IADL said.
The group also cited the data from Philippine police which notes 3,900 drug-related deaths as of October 2017.
The Duterte administration has repeatedly claimed that the more than 8,000 drug war deaths cited by various critics and human rights groups were bloated.
As they also denied that such deaths were state-sanctioned, Philippine officials further claimed that suspects who were slain during operations violently resisted arrest.
In the same resolution, IADL likewise cited the reported deaths of civilians who were killed after being suspected of supporting a group of communist rebels in the country.
“On top of this, according to human rights groups, at least 88 persons, mostly farmers, have reportedly been slain on suspicion of supporting the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) as of August 31, 2017,” IADL said.
The IADL then called on the Philippine government to resume its peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Duterte terminated the talks last week amid NPA’s continued attacks on the military.
The NPA serves as the armed wing of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), while the NDF serves as the political arm.
The IADL also called on the Philippine government to end illegal arrests, prosecute and end impunity of the perpetrators of human rights violations.
The group further urged the Duterte administration to ensure the protection of rights defenders, and respect international law, as it slammed the president for issuing statements against several high-ranking government who criticized some of his policies.
“President Duterte has openly shown intolerance of criticism and dissent when he publicly attacked not only mass organizations and the opposition but also the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Commission on Human Rights, the Ombudsman, the media and even the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippine for what he perceived to be statements critical of him or his human rights record,” IADL said.