Human Rights Watch lambasted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent remarks on shooting and killing drug suspects.
Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director, described the president’s statement as “savage,” adding that “more will be shot down” because security forces “will not fail to act on” it.
He said Duterte’s “blood lust is obviously not satiated” despite the thousands of lives that the government’s war on drugs campaign has already claimed.
In a recorded address to the nation on August 31, Duterte ordered the head of the customs bureau to “shoot and kill” drug smugglers.
“Drug is still flowing inside the country …. I approved the purchase of firearms and until now you haven’t killed even one?” said the president.
“I’d like you to kill there…. Anyway, I’ll back you up and you won’t get jailed. If it’s drugs, you shoot and kill. That’s the arrangement,” he said.
Robertson said the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will convene this month, must urgently establish an independent probe into the Philippine killings.
“This is also a compelling reason for the International Criminal Court to fast-track its preliminary examination into the complaints of crimes against humanity leveled against Duterte and his government,” he said.
Robertson said the “continuing carnage also explains why the international community led by the European Union needs to act decisively on this ongoing rights catastrophe in the Philippines.”
He said that the international community must “not be swayed” by the Philippine government’s “falsehoods” about its human rights record.
Police data show that close to 9,000 people have been killed in the government’s “war” on drugs.
Media reports and rights organizations, however, claimed that the campaign against illegal drugs has already killed about 30,000 individuals.
On August 26, Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, renewed calls for sanctions against Philippine officials who were allegedly responsible for human rights violations in the country.
Callamard said it is time for member states of the UN Human Rights Council to initiate “governmental sanctions and criminal prosecution” of Philippine officials who have “committed, incited, or failed to prevent human rights abuses.”
In June, 33 UN human rights experts urged the International Criminal Court to “expedite” and complete its preliminary investigation into alleged crimes against humanity under the Philippines’ “war” against drugs.