‘Genocidal’ drug war was state-sponsored, UN body told

‘Genocidal’ drug war was state-sponsored, UN body told

Manila, Philippines – A militant fishers’ group on Friday hit the “grandstanding” of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra at the high-level meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), by only reporting the failure of the police to follow protocols in anti-drug operations that killed tens of thousands of accused drug addicts.

In a statement, fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is “as good as complicit” to the mass murder by the police brought about by the Oplan Tokhang, the Duterte government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Although we couldn’t agree more with the Justice Secretary that the police do not follow protocols in executing the bloody war on drugs, Mr. Guevarra has failed to mention that the justice department is all but an enabler of the widely-criticized war, as it failed to hold the abusive authorities to account. Moreover, Mr. Guevarra didn’t mention that it was no less than President Duterte who encouraged authorities to shoot drug addicts at the expense of human rights,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“Mr. Guevarra’s report to the UNHRC was nothing but an attempt to absolve the justice department on the mass murder of innocent lives. He didn’t mention that the impunity has tolerated the perpetrators to trample on the rule of law and deprive ordinary Filipinos right to due process,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative added.

A global human rights coalition, for its part, also criticized Mr. Guevarra’s cover-up of its role in Oplan Tokhang and other human rights abuses in the country.

“The reassuring diplomatic tone of Philippine Justice Secretary Guevarra’s message to the UNHRC cannot hide the raw truth that so far, there has been no accountability for the murder of tens of thousands of civilians by police and the armed forces in the government’s war on drugs and counter-insurgency program,” Peter Murphy, Spokesperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said in a separate statement.

“Secretary Guevarra told the Council that President Duterte’s war on drugs is a ‘campaign widely supported by our people’, but failed to report that the people equally support the right of the accused to be charged and have a fair trial, and not be shot out of hand,” Mr. Murphy added.

Lastly, PAMALAKAYA said that “it is not only the police, but the Duterte regime itself is responsible over the deaths of tens of thousands of Filipinos” courtesy of the government’s repressive policies and culture of impunity. ###

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