A UN investigation backed by Iceland has condemned the Filipino government’s ‘war on drugs’ that has caused thousands of deaths.
Iceland spearheaded a UN resolution criticising the Filipino drug crackdown and calling for a report into possible human rights violations in June 2019.
The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right (ONCHR) released its damning report on “serious human rights violations” on June 4th. According to the report, government officials’ rhetoric can be seen as “permission to kill” anyone suspected of drug-related activity.
“Despite credible allegations of widespread and systematic extrajudicial killings in the context of the campaign against illegal drugs, there has been near impunity for such violations”, the report states. The government cited just one case in which police were convicted for an extrajudicial killing related to the campaign since 2016.
A conservative estimate based on government data suggests that 8,663 people have been killed since Rodrgio Duterte came to office in July 2016, according to the report. The OHCHR cannot verify the true number of deaths without further investigation, but notes that other estimates put the death toll three times higher.
The OHCHR also found that police routinely entered homes without search or arrest warrants and “systematically forced suspects to make self-incriminating statements or risk facing lethal force.”
Duterte is yet to respond to the report, but he has strenuously denied breaches of human rights laws in the past and criticised the UN resolution.
Iceland’s role in introducing the resolution caused a breakdown in Icelandic-Filipino diplomatic relations last summer. Duterte launched numerous rhetorical attacks on Iceland in the days following the passing of the resolution, Reuters reported.
“What is the problem of Iceland? – Ice only,” he told corrections department officials. “You have too much ice and there is no clear day or night there. So you can understand why there is no crime. There is no policeman either, and they just go about eating ice. These idiots, they don’t understand the social, economic, political problems of the Philippines.”
The report calls on the international community to grant the OHCHR a mandate to continue to monitor human rights breeches in the Philippines and to put pressure on the Filipino government to immediately halt its brutal war on drugs.
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