De Lima to Duterte: ‘Stop bringing violence and terror’ to Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Monday dared President Rodrigo Duterte “to stop bringing violence and terror” as an international human rights group reported a “deepened” human rights crisis in the country due to continuing drug war.
In its 2019 World Report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently revealed that human rights crisis in the country “deepened” in 2018 as the bloody war on drugs continued under the Duterte administration.
“I challenge Mr. Duterte to stop bringing violence and terror to the populace because his drug war – which is already out of control — continues to wreak havoc on the lives of Filipino families, especially the poor,” De Lima said in a statement.
“Mr. Duterte should also stop ignoring the continuing concerns about the plight of the human rights defenders in the country whose works have become extremely difficult and dangerous as he painted them as allegedly ‘enemies of the state,’” she added.
In its report, HRW said Duterte urged more summary executions of drug suspects, who, the group believed, were “often of people guilty of no more than being poor young men.”
HRW’s report likewise stated Duterte’s effort to silence his staunch critics through various means, noting how De Lima remained in detention due to “politically motivated” drug charges.
De Lima said the Duterte administration should start basing its campaign against illegal drugs on human rights and rule of law to prevent any more casualties. Duterte, she said, should also stop looking at criticisms on his governance as attacks against him.
“Amid these mass atrocities, the government should be the first to stand up for the basic values of human dignity and equality of everyone instead of staining its hands with the blood of its people,” the senator said.
“Because of Duterte’s madness, suspected drug offenders who don’t get to have a day in the court– including women and children — and the rights activists and church leaders who defend them, are becoming more and more vulnerable to intimidations, attacks, and killings,” she added.
De Lima, at this point, encouraged the public and civil society organizations to continue lobbying and pushing for rights-based legislation and call out, report, and demand accountability for “state-led abuses.”
“The year 2019 will be more challenging for Filipinos in terms of human rights situation but we should never forget to act in solidarity with each other in hopes to rebuild decency in government and to rebuild dignity in our society,” she pointed out. /kga
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