Human Rights Watch hits Duterte’s addition of military in war on drugs
Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international watchdog group, on Wednesday (early Thursday, Philippine time) slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s addition of military reinforcements on his “abusive” war on drugs.
The group, a vocal critic of the Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs, warned him against committing more rights violations.
“Using military personnel for civilian policing anywhere heightens the risk of unnecessary or excessive force and inappropriate military tactics,” HRW Deputy Director for Asia Phelim Kine said in a statement.
“But there is also a deeply rooted culture of impunity for military abuses in the Philippines,” Kine added.
Duterte on Tuesday ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to arrest police scalawags, particularly those involved in illegal drugs, as part of the cleansing of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The rogue cops had been using the war on drugs as a cover to their crimes.
Duetere said that, if the AFP would not help in his war on drugs and corrupt police officers, no one would go after them.
READ: Duterte taps AFP in war on bad cops
Only one soldier has been convicted for extrajudicial killing since 2001, data from the Department of National Defense (DND) showed.
“The arrest in August 2014 of Jovito Palparan, a retired Army major general, marked a rare challenge to the impunity enjoyed by military personnel who commit serious crimes, and which multiple presidential administrations have failed to adequately address,” Kine said.
Kine also pointed out that military units in the country have a “long history” of masking extrajudicial killings of suspected leftists and communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as “legitimate encounters” – a modus operandi similar to police anti-illegal drug operations.
“Duterte’s decision to deploy military units confirms his vow that his war on drugs – and the appallingly high death toll it’s inflicting – will continue,” Kine added. /ATM
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