37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

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Item 4: General debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Oral statement delivered by Ellecer Carlos on behalf of Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights, Franciscans International, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Mr President, Seven international and regional organisations make this statement in solidarity with the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines.

The ‘war on drugs’, has resulted in an estimated 12,000 killings since June 2016 and has been extended until 2022. The government continues to shield the police force from any accountability.

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Statement on President Duterte’s orders to withdraw from the International Criminal Court

On March 14 President Duterte announced the ‘immediate’ withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court, after claiming it had no jurisdiction over him, instructing the police not to cooperate with any international investigation into extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs all the while threatening UN rights investigators with the possibility of being fed to crocodiles. Duterte also cited a fraudulent process when the Philippines ratified it on August 23, 2011.

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Ending the War on Drugs Saves Lives

Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano on Tuesday told the UN Human Rights Council that the deadly war on drugs was meant to save Filipino lives from the scourge of illegal drugs. He thinks the world is hearing this for the first time. But the same argument was also used by a dictator forty years ago, except at that time, it was to save the country from “communists”.

Cayetano’s feigned alarm about the Philippines turning into a narco-state started with 1.8 million drug users according to the Dangerous Drugs Board (2015), then increased to 4 million within President Duterte’s first year in office; new players have joined the illegal drugs trade in Cebu [1]; drug trade by the Muntinlupa prison drug lords have resumed [2]; the president’s son has been linked to a new shipment of P6.4 billion worth of shabu; and the drug related charges against an opposition Senator who is in prison have been downgraded for lack of evidence. [3]

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Reject Charter Change, Uphold Democracy, Defend Human Rights!

Crafted by a Congress that propped up the failed war on drugs, extended martial law in Mindanao, legislated TRAIN, reintroduced death penalty, lowered the age of criminal responsibility of children, pushed for the term extension of President Duterte and applauded his misogynist jokes, the new draft Constitution spells further political and economic crises for the Philippines.

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