Friday, August 12, 2016

DUTERTE'S DRUG WAR | 'Shoot to kill', name and shame run roughshod over rights - Amnesty Intl

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The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte’s “shoot to kill” order and his public naming and shaming of alleged drug personalities do not only violate fundamental rights, they contradict his professed intent to restore peace and order by worsening lawlessness, Amnesty International said.

AI, which has been won the Nobel Prize for its work, joined the growing chorus of concern over the “rapid rise in killings” that has marked Duterte’s relentless campaign to stamp out drugs in the country.

It pointed out that anti-narcotics strategies “based on the use of force and militarization,” such as Duterte’s, “have proven to be counter-productive” and have, in fact, “increased levels of violence, intimidation and corruption usually associated with drug markets.”

“The actual or suspected use of drugs cannot constitute grounds for violating the rights of individuals, irrespective whether the applicable drug control regime allows for imprisonment or other sanctions,” it added.

But Duterte has dismissed such concerns, often with derision, and in response to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s worries after he publicly named seven judges -- among them one who has died, another retired, and a third dismissed from the service -- as alleged drug protectors, even raised the possibility of declaring martial law should the judiciary get in the way of his campaign.

AI said Duterte’s “shoot to kill” directive and frequent hints that policemen and soldiers would not be held accountable for obeying his wishes “will further exacerbate the culture of impunity among law enforcement officials for human rights violations” in the country by giving them “unrestricted powers to continue further killings, which affects the most marginalized sectors of the population.”

The organization stressed that “under international human rights law, including treaties which legally bind the Philippines, the right to life is non-derogable. It cannot be restricted even in times of crisis.”

Aside from reining in its security forces, AI reminded the government that it “has a duty to protect people from all forms of violence, including an obligation of due diligence to prevent or to promptly, independently and impartially investigate” all killings, including the increasing vigilante-style executions of drug suspects, “and bring perpetrators to justice.”

It also said Duterte’s “public naming and shaming of individuals, in a climate where anyone can kill anyone in the name of the ‘war on crime,’ is highly dangerous and will not only contribute to unlawful killings, but increased lawlessness,” by punishing people “in the absence of legal authority, cogent evidence and fair legal procedures.” 

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