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Duterte a gross human rights violator

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

"Duterte is a gross human rights violator who uses the war on drugs as a tool to impose authoritarian rule in order to inflict unopposed, anti-people economic policies, towards further exacerbating human rights violations against the Filipino nation. He has effectively undermined the spaces and opportunities for engagement with civil society as well as government’s obligations to human rights."

These are the findings of the 2017 general assembly of In Defense Of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) in Quezon City yesterday. After more than a year’s campaign against extrajudicial killings, iDEFEND concluded that President Duterte continues to blatantly violate the right to life as well as the people’s right to live in dignity.

In their unity statement the group stated that “President Duterte’s harsh pronouncements against human rights incite further rights violations and are an affront to human dignity as his war on drugs continues to infringe on the basic right to life. Rule of law and due process no longer hold sway."

“iDEFEND, one of the first groups to protest the violent war on drugs since July 2016, found no substantial change in people’s lives in terms of livelihood and development, as promised by President Duterte. In fact in addition to widespread fear for their lives, the people now fear for their livelihood due to the same economic polices that the Duterte administration chose to carry on from previous administrations” lamented Ms. Rose Trajano, head of iDEFEND secretariat.

The group vowed to heighten campaigns to combat widespread violence and impunity, end the war on drugs and work towards the fulfillment of social justice and human dignity.

The group also vowed to continue to resist any attempt of the Duterte government to constrict democratic processes and checks and balances in government through threats, harassment and intimidation. Finally iDEFEND reasserted that the solution to the country’s drug problem is not war but social justice, equality and a rights-based governance.