‘Baseless’ claims linking rights groups to drugs is ‘dangerous’ – CHR | Inquirer News
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‘Baseless’ claims linking rights groups to drugs is ‘dangerous’ – CHR

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 11:36 AM March 29, 2018

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has described as “dangerous” the remarks of some government officials that human rights groups may be “unwitting tools” of drug syndicates to destabilize the Duterte administration.

“Dispensing allegations without proof is dangerous as it opens human rights defenders to unsolicited attacks,” the CHR said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had earlier said that some human rights groups have been “unwittingly used” by drug lords to discredit the government’s so-called war on drugs.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has supported Cayetano’s claim, saying drug lords may be using their money to destabilize the Duterte administration.

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READ: Roque: Drug money used vs Duterte gov’t, war on narcotics

Human rights groups have been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody campaign against illegal drugs, accusing the administration of human rights violations.

“Criticisms on the government’s campaign against illegal drugs are neither clear links to drug lords nor a sign of destabilization plot,” the CHR said.

The CHR said “constructive criticisms on government programs are viewed as points of improvement meant to better achieve their goal of providing a better life to everyone, rather than tools to threat rights.”

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) are investigating alleged links of human rights groups to drug syndicates.

READ: PDEA, PNP probing links between rights groups, drug lords

But the CHR said the allegations of connivance remains “baseless.”

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“Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine National Police even admit that further investigation is needed to give credence to this assertion. It means that, at point, it remains no more than a baseless allegation,” the agency said.

“While the government gives preferential attention to this charge, what is clearer is that there are cases of deaths and human rights violations allegedly linked to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, which human rights groups have continuously demanded to be addressed with justice and the rule of law,” it added.

The CHR urged the government to show sincerity in protecting human rights amid the allegations against human rights advocates.

“At this point, it is but rational for the government to demonstrate sincerity in protecting the human rights of all and, as government, lead in raising the discourse by speaking only of truth in all aspects of its governance,” it said.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) had earlier slammed the statements of Roque and Cayetano, calling it “shockingly dangerous and shameful.”

The HRW called on both officials to withdraw their statements.

But Roque said HRW should not “exaggerate and politicize” the issue.

“Human Rights Watch (HRW) should therefore not feel alluded to, exaggerate and politicize the issue to get some media mileage and public attention,” he said. /kga

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TAGS: Activists, advocates, CHR, Drugs, Human rights
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