Monday, August 22, 2016

The Daily Tribune News - It’s still genocide

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Monday, 22 August 2016 00:00 

Toughie Rody can’t just brush aside being a member of human civilization the way he has been taking cavalier potshots at the United Nations (UN) or anybody who gets to raise the issue of human rights before him.

Even the mere of threat of killing those whom he considered as criminals presupposes his toleration of summary killings.

It was the turn of special rapporteurs of the United Nations (UN) to give Rody a piece of their mind regarding the way his war on drugs is being undertaken.

A UN statement bearing the statements of the two rapporteurs started with a warning: “Allegations of drug-trafficking offences should be judged in a court of law, not by gunmen on the streets.”

It said UN rights experts are urging the “government of the Philippines to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings in the context of an intensified anti-crime and anti-drug campaign targeting drug dealers and users.”

It noted that more than 850 people have been killed between May 10, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected President of the Philippines vowing to crackdown on crime, and August 11. Over 650 were killed in the last six weeks alone.

Independent sources of the toll on war on drugs put the figure higher of up to 1,500 dead since Duterte took over the reins of power.

The Philippine National Police has a running tally of those killed in police operations and the other vigilante-style deaths which are being termed derisively as carton justice due to the cardboard where an “I am a drug pusher” is scribbled and placed near the dead body.

Despite the tally, no charges except for one or two “surrenderers” have been filed before the courts.

UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard said Philippine authorities should adopt with immediate effect the necessary measures to protect all persons from targeted killings and extrajudicial executions.

She reminded Rody that claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.

“The State has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offenses or not,” she added.

Rody considers such reminders from the UN as “stupid interventions” on the affairs of the country when human rights is not only an international commitment but an obligation to the human race.

UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras said however necessary, responses to the illicit drug trade must be carried out in full compliance with national and international obligations and should respect the human rights of each person.

Puras also made reference to the mass slays of drug addicts who Duterte had said were mostly beyond rehabilitation as if justifying their execution.

Concerning drug-dependency, this should be treated as a public health issue and justice systems that decriminalize drug consumption and possession for personal use as a means to improve health outcomes, Puras said.

During his election campaign and first days in office, Duterte repeatedly urged law enforcement agencies and the public to kill people suspected of trafficking drugs who don’t surrender, as well as people who use drugs.

The UN statement said Duterte was heard “promising impunity for such killings and bounties for those who turn in drug dealers ‘dead or alive.’”

Callamard said directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill. “Intentional lethal use of force is only allowed when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and should not be used for common policing objectives,” she said.

“Incentives to violence such as bounties or the promise of impunity also seriously contravene the rule of law and must end,” the UN experts said. Even Duterte’s spokesman Martin Andanar appears unable to comprehend or is unwilling to what the UN wishes to convey to toughie Rody.

“President Duterte has time and again warned us during the (election) campaign that if you vote for me, this is going to be bloody,” he said, adding that there is “no war without casualties.”

The reasoning of toughie Rody and his Palace cohorts is as unsound as the warped minds of the drug dependents they brand as beyond redemption.

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