[Statement] A Plea for Justice, A Cry for Hope -TFDP

A Plea for Justice, A Cry for Hope

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) joins the call, locally and internationally, for accountability of the Philippine State for the widespread extrajudicial killings being perpetrated in the name of the war on drugs and crime.

We implore the government to heed the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the 39 states who issued a statement thereafter. Worthy to note the following:

· the States’ expression of serious concern over the human rights situation in the Philippines, particularly the ‘thousands of killings and the climate of impunity associated with the war on drugs;

· their call for the Philippine government to bring the killings to an end and ‘cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents’;

· their continuing concern regarding the intimidations against human rights defenders and that they be accorded full protection by the Philippine government;

· their appeal for the Philippine government ‘to pursue investigations of alleged human rights violations and abuses, and to create a safe and secure environment for indigenous communities, journalists and human rights defenders.’

Other groups have called for an end to support for the PNP and AFP by other States. We support this call. Blood stains the uniform of the security sector with the EJKs of suspected drug dependents and pushers, the bombing of communities, the attacks on human rights defenders and the wanton disregard for life and dignity.

We reiterate our demand for the Philippine government to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur (SR) on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Dr. Agnes Callamard without any preconditions or limitations. The argument that the SR is in league with the political opposition has become stale and facile.

If our government refuses this action, then we have no other recourse but to ask the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a Commission on Inquiry to look into the current human rights situation of the Philippines, particularly the rampant and widespread extrajudicial killings.

We suggest the creation of an independent commission to be composed of women and men known for their wisdom and impartiality to investigate all the EJKs by state forces and vigilante squads and to review all operations, including deaths due to “nanlaban”.

We have visited the wakes of the young people mercilessly killed and have condoled with their families. We have listened to witnesses contradicting the stories of “nanlaban”. Their plea is JUSTICE.

Our calls for an end to EJKs have fallen on deaf ears. Instead we have received a mouthful of threats from no less than the highest official of the land. We ask the international community to take all actions to pressure our government to end the killings. This is our cry for HOPE!

Sr. Crescencia L. Lucero, SFIC
October 5, 2017

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