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.
The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) report on the global failure to address illegal drugs cited the gruesome results of drug wars waged around the world:
A 145 per cent increase in drug-related deaths over the last decade, totaling a harrowing 450,000 deaths per year in 2015.
At least 3,940 people executed for a drug offence over the last decade, with 33 jurisdictions retaining the death penalty for drug offences in violation of international standards.
Around 27,000 extrajudicial killings in drug crackdowns in the Philippines.
More than 71,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017 alone.
A global pain epidemic, resulting from restrictions in access to controlled medicines, which have left 75 per cent of the world’s population without proper access to pain relief.
Mass incarceration fuelled by the criminalization of people who use drugs – with 1 in 5 prisoners incarcerated for drug offences, mostly for possession for personal use.
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) agrees with IDPC that the decade-long UN Drug Policy has not been successful and even made situations worse. This is because most States have not pursued a policy anchored on a strategy that is evidence-based, integrated, balanced and sustainable.
The Philippines (Government) does not belong in the UN Human Rights Council and its membership must be rescinded or suspended for miserably failing to uphold human rights standards. The UN Human Rights Council should hold the GRP accountable to standards expected of members.
The Duterte administration continues to consciously and deliberately sustain the de facto social cleansing policy (War on Drugs) which results in the mass EJKs and the multi-fold human rights crisis which continue at the same rate. The Duterte administration continues to shield police officers and death squads from litigation and forces them to be more violent through forced quotas and reward systems. Duterte has vowed to slaughter thousands and continues to slaughter into the thousands.