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HRW exec accuses PH gov’t of faking sincerity to resolve drug war abuses

/ 02:53 PM December 08, 2017
Kian delos Santos protest Akbayan Youth Cebu City Philippines

Members of the militant Akbayan Youth light candles on Colon Street in downtown Cebu City to condemn the death of Kian delos Santos and other suspects in the government’s brutal war on drugs. FILE PHOTO BY JUNJIE MENDOZA / CEBU DAILY NEWS

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday accused the Duterte administration of faking its sincerity in efforts to seek accountability for abuses in the war on drugs.

Param-Preet Singh, associate director of HRW’s international justice program, called Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s assurance that the Philippine government will probe the abuses as only “smokescreen justice.”

Roque, in a speech delivered on Friday morning (Philippine Time) at the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) annual diplomatic conference at the United Nations (UN) in New York, said it is the government’s due to “bring to bear our national criminal justice system upon those who violate our laws.”

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The spokesman urged the ICC “to resist attempts by some sectors” to use them “as a venue to pursue political agenda” to destabilize governments.

READ: PH warns ICC vs ‘some sectors’ using the court to advance political agenda

In a statement following Roque’s speech, Singh said the Philippine government has been unwilling to investigate the alleged summary killings in the drug war.

“The government has made no genuine efforts to seek accountability for drug war abuses. There have been no successful prosecutions or convictions of police implicated in summary killings despite compelling evidence of such abuses,” Singh said.

Roque’s claim that the government is ready to prosecute drug war abusers, she said, is “grotesquely deceptive in the face of this grim reality.”

“It is not known if and when the ICC will act in the Philippines,” Singh said, adding that the UN-led probe into drug killings could help expose abuses.

“(President Rodrigo) Duterte’s thousands of victims deserve more than empty platitudes in diplomatic circles. They deserve justice,” she said.

The rights group noted that Duterte has publicly vowed to pardon, reinstate, and promote officers convicted of extrajudicial killings.

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It added that Duterte and his supporters have “harassed” and “villified” institutions and individuals, including UN officials, who have sought accountability for the abuses.

Malacañang earlier called UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard an “incompetent” and “biased” in the country’s anti-drug campaign. /jpv

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TAGS: duterte, Government, HRW, Human rights, Palace, war on drugs
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