Top Philippine official to face questions at UN rights body

Top Philippine official to face questions at UN rights body

GENEVA — A top Philippine official is set to be questioned next week at the U.N. Human Rights Council on issues such as extrajudicial killings and vigilante justice alleged to be occurring in President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly fight against illegal drugs.

The Philippines is one of 14 countries whose records are being examined in the latest session of the Universal Periodic Review, which examines issues in all 193 U.N. member states. Britain is on tap Thursday and the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign and moves to restore the death penalty are among the issues set for discussion on Monday.

Menardo Guevarra, a senior deputy executive secretary in Duterte’s office, is leading the delegation. Also participating is senator and staunch Duterte supporter Alan Peter Cayetano, who told reporters “our strategy is simple: The facts being said about the campaign against drugs are wrong.”

Human Rights Watch on Thursday called on the U.N. to denounce the Philippines’ “war on drugs” that it said has left more than 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users dead since Duterte took office on June 30 and to urge the country to support an international investigation into the killings.

“The UN review of the Philippines is critical because of the sheer magnitude of the human rights calamity since President Duterte took office last year,” said Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director. “Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has been nothing less than a murderous war on the poor.”

Amnesty International Philippines says the review should highlight persisting problems, including the high number of extrajudicial executions and moves to reinstate the death penalty.

The government is also releasing new data in an attempt to refute death tolls ranging from more than 7,000 to 9,000 cited by human rights groups and the media that were based on previous numbers released by police.

Numbers released by the presidential palace, the Philippine National Police and other government agencies this week showed nearly 4,600 people have been killed in drug-related crime since July 1 and over 1.2 million drug suspects have surrendered.

The death toll includes more than 2,700 suspected drug dealers and users killed in police operations and 1,847 homicides investigated and found to be drug-related.

Police said 19.6 per cent of the country’s 9,432 recorded homicides from July 1 to March 31 were drug-related. About 20 per cent of homicides were unrelated to drugs, while the rest are still under investigation.

The higher figures released by police earlier and cited by media and human rights groups included deaths still under investigation, which officials now clarify were not all drug-related.

“The fact that the new PNP figures are inconsistent with the numbers released by the media or human rights organizations on extrajudicial executions, or even their own previous numbers, means that there may be more unreported cases, not less,” said Amnesty International Philippines head Ritz Lee Santos, III.

He said the police should “send a clear message that the state-sponsored unlawful killings of alleged offenders are never justified and are equivalent to extrajudicial executions which they should vow to end.”

The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stanley Cup returning to Salmon Arm after 15 years

Resident excited for twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see iconic trophy

Money available to curtail nutrient pollution of Shuswap watershed

Excessive phosphorous could make algae blooms and other unpleasant conditions more common

Eight times a charm: Larch Hills skiers win team trophy at Teck BC event

Shuswap contingent wins Midget Championships honour eighth year in a row

Salmon Arm boy is only Para-Nordic athlete at BC Winter games

Thirteen-year-old Kaden Baum competed in three races on his sit-ski at the games.

Home loss ends season for Sicamous Eagles

A defeat at the hands of the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Feb. 22 was the Eagles’ last outing.

Okanagan rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Brad Pattison’s team spent 33 days rescuing wildlife

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Kelowna youth accused of killing 16-year-old released

The young woman was arrested on Feb. 21 and is facing one charge of manslaughter

Interior Health appoints administrator at Summerland Seniors Village

Numerous concerns raised about private seniors care facility

Man arrested following suspicious trailer fire in Kelowna

Reports came in about the fire at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday morning

Body discovered following vehicle fire on Kelowna property

Firefighters discovered a body in a home on Anderson Road

‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

Forty per cent of sexual assaults reported to Kelowna RCMP in 2019 were deemed ‘unfounded’

Most Read