The Philippines’ withdrawal from its membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) means that an important legal mechanism enforcing some of the most advanced international cooperation for justice will be out of reach for Filipinos, especially those working in dangerous and conflict-ridden countries.
Although withdrawing from the ICC will have no effect on the cases of extrajudicial killings brought before it, President Duterte nevertheless sacrificed international legal protection for all Filipinos in a bid to save himself from prosecution. In the event of international terrorist attacks on Philippine soil, in the event of Chinese military aggression, and in the event that overseas Filipinos including peace keepers, are captured or killed in crossfires in conflict zones, the Filipino people would have had the best means to pursue justice.
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) expressed alarm over the approval of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena of the government's war on drugs and saying he would like to adopt the same method in his country.
Ms. Judy Pasimio, spokesperson for iDEFEND said this means that the Sri Lankan president is prepared to take on the gruesome atrocities that have brought the Philippines before the International Criminal Court's scrutiny.
Statement on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Seven decades ago at the end of World War Two humankind has asserted that the destruction of human dignity in order to achieve power over populations through violence and fear would no longer reign in the world. Thus the United Nations on December 10, 1948 agreed on a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which would set the standard by which all nations strive to achieve for each of their citizens.
70 years on, the UDHR remain more relevant than ever as the world is now faced with an alarming rise in rightist and populist governments in many countries. Specifically in the Philippines, which has been under the Duterte presidency for more than two years, the respect for life and human dignity had been atrociously violated a thousand times over.
The In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) condemns in the strongest possible terms the statement and intention of President Duterte to establish a death squad to hound the NPA sparrows. The establishment of a death squad means a unit operating above the law, not subject to rules, accountability, checks and safeguards. This will redound to the further erosion of the rule of law and democratic institutions and normalizes the default Duterte policy of resorting to violence and killing those he perceives to be a threat. Such a State-sponsored and -sanctioned group operating in obscurity and beyond the legal frameworks only extends and exacerbates the existing death squad epidemic and puts all agents of change in the Philippines at even greater risk.
Just as he did two years ago, defining drug suspects as the inconvenient sector worthy of slaughter and programming the police and unleashing death squads to exterminate them, Duterte is again setting up the stage to unleash a wave of killings parallel to the War on Drugs.