CHR to gov’t: Acknowledge observations of ICC on drug war killings
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday urged the government to acknowledge and address the observations of the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor regarding crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the government’s war on drugs.
“As the country’s national human-rights institution, CHR urges the government to acknowledge and address the observations of the ICC, with regards to its findings, and calls for greater transparency and accountability from the government in the movement towards providing redress for cases of human rights violations,” the CHR said in a statement.
The commission was referring to the December 14 report of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda which noted that there is “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in the government’s anti-drug campaign.
The CHR noted that it is the duty of the state to ensure a healthy balance between liberty and authority and adherence to the rule of law.
It also stated that the primary responsibility to protect the human rights of individuals remains to be with the state.
“Thus, the government is called upon to squarely address all the violations that have resulted from the campaign against illegal drugs,” the commission said.
The CHR said it will continue to cooperate with domestic and international protection mechanisms to ensure that human rights violations are addressed and its perpetrators are held to account.
“We remain vigilant and will continue to condemn actions that threaten the peace and security of the people whether committed by state or non-state actors,” the agency added.
Reacting to ICC’s report, Philippine National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said evidence is still needed to prove that there are human rights violations in the anti-drug campaign.
He said police officers must be given the “benefit of the doubt” unless witnesses provide strong evidence of such violations in the crackdown against the drug trade.
Based on the latest data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, a total of 5,942 drug suspects have been killed while 266,126 individuals have been arrested in the campaign against drugs since July 2016 until October 31.
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