Urgent action: Hundreds killed under Philippines’ new President
Hundreds of criminal suspects allegedly linked to the drug trade have been killed since June 30, the day President Duterte took office in the Philippines. Some of these cases may amount to extrajudicial executions.
Hundreds have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines since June 30, President Duterte’s first day as the President of the Philippines. Amongst those killed, over 120 of the deceased remain unidentified. The alarming increase of unlawful killings, some of which may amount to extrajudicial executions, has been observed since the day President Duterte took office and vowed to crackdown on crime.
In a 5 June speech on national television, during his Presidential campaign, President Duterte appeared to encourage citizens to perform “duties” by killing suspected drug criminals. Since becoming President, Duterte has repeated his promise to stamp out drug crime, calling on law enforcement agencies “to double your efforts…triple them if need be…we will not stop until the last drug lord, last financier and last pusher have surrendered or put behind bars or below the ground if they so wish”.
Under international law and standards, the use of force by police is strictly prohibited, except when absolutely necessary and proportionate. Police must apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force, and carry out their duties in a way that ensures full respect for the right to life, liberty and security of all persons, including those suspected of crime. In addition, the State has a duty to protect people from all forms of violence, including an obligation of due diligence to promptly, independently and impartially investigate unlawful killings.
Media reports have highlighted numerous cases as part of President Duterte’s so called “war on crime”. These include: father and son Renato Bertes, 47, and Jaybee Bertes, 28, killed in police custody after being brought into a police station in Metro Manila for drug testing; Julius Rabina, 18, shot dead by unidentified motorcycle gunmen who asked for his father, an apparent drug suspect, outside his house; Jefferson Bunuan, 20, and his cousin Mark Anthony, shot dead by police who raided a house they were in, looking for a suspected drug dealer.
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