An Urgent Appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte
The Philippines recognized the importance of human rights when it voted in favor of adopting United Nations’ 1948 Resolution to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Filipino American human rights advocates in the United States subscribe to these principles and they can be a powerful force for good.
The Philippines placed promoting human rights at the center of the government’s framework of principles and policies. Promoting human rights and democratic governance was embodied in the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.
The framers of the Constitution also created the Commission on Human Rights to protect the human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as of Filipinos residing abroad as a response to the gross violations of human rights of the Marcos dictatorship from 1972 to 1981.
Respected Nationalist, Jose W. Diokno, as chairman of the Philippine Presidential Committee on Human Rights advocated to internalize reverence for human rights through vigilance like research and education on violations of human rights.
Amnesty International recently published reports about the extrajudicial killings of over 7,000 persons suspected of dealing in illegal drugs or being simply drug addicts since you took office, with a third of these credibly attributed to actions by the PNP and/or state actors.
The U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Human Rights Report also stated that “police and unknown vigilantes have killed more than 6,000 suspected drug dealers and users’’ in the Philippines between July and December 2016, a period during which extrajudicial killings “increased sharply’’; and allegedly undertaken by vigilantes, security forces, and insurgents.
You promised to kill 100,000 drug dealers and addicts, and as president, have repeated these numbers and even ten times this number—contrary to our democratic processes in which made it possible for you to become President of the Philippines. Incitement to violence and discrimination is prohibited under international law.
The right to life is the most important human right of all, and is a fundamental right of all living persons. Enforcement of the Philippine laws is your sworn duty. 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 human rights, among them the right to life, liberty and security of all persons
The unlawful and deliberate killing carried out by order of officials or with the state’s complicity or acquiescence is an extrajudicial killing and is a crime under international law. Your administration must investigate and prosecute allegations of extrajudicial executions.
We ask you:
- To condemn all extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings and call on law enforcement officials to abide strictly by international law and standards on the use of force;
- To ensure prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all reports of use of lethal force by the police, extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings;
- To ensure that those responsible are brought to justice through a fair trial process;
- To provide programs to rehabilitate drug addicts which is a proven way to stem illegal drug trafficking and usage.
In the loving spirit of the Christmas season, we thank you for your kind attention to these matters of grave importance to us and our people.
Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines (EANP) by Tim McGloin and Paul Bloom
Filipino American Human Rights Alliance – Chicago (FAHRA-Chicago) by Jerry Clarito and Juanita S. Burris, Co-Chairperson
Filipino American Human Rights Alliance – Los Angeles (FAHRA-LA) by Art Garcia
Filipino American Human Rights Alliance – San Francisco (FAHRA-SF) by Ago Pedalizo
Filipino Community Journalists of Chicago
Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV)
Mariano A. Santos, Member of the Knights of Rizal
A HAPPY AND PEACEFUL NEW YEAR TO ALL!