When drug crimes are being investigated by law enforcement, the last thing on anyone’s mind is human rights violations. But activists in the Philippines are starting a protest claiming serious violations by those law enforcement individuals involved with handling such crimes. They are urging the United Nations to acknowledge the fact that thousands of those who are under investigation have been killed while under scrutiny.
Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, Ann Fordham is reported to have said, “We are calling on the U. N. drug control bodies to publicly condemn these atrocities in the Philippines. This senseless killing cannot be justified as a drug control measure. Their silence is unacceptable, while people are being killed on the streets day after day”.
As of now, there are over 300 civil-society signatures to the International Narcotics Control Board and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as the Human Rights Watch, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Stop AIDS.
The protest has arisen due to the open endorsement by President of the Philippines, Rodrigo “the Punisher” Duterte. In a speech he has said: “Please feel free to call us, the police or do it yourself if you have a gun. You have my support”. This was to help eradicate drugs and those involved in its production and distribution in the country. Though drug crimes are known, such a response from a responsible office is just the opposite – irresponsible.
However, killing of civilians, no matter what they are accused of, without going through the proper judicial process is considered a human rights violation. There is no record of how many killings have actually taken place and whether victims have been involved in the drug scene and to what extent. A country like the Philippines has religious roots and treats addictions as a dangerous crime, rather than an epidemic that deserves a more docile cure.
There is yet to be a response by the UN or other recipient authorities on this matter.