August 12, 2016 – Newly formed human rights coalition, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend) calls on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte not to make his government’s war on drugs a war on human rights.
In their joint statement, the group emphasized that no matter who is extrajudicially killed or whose rights are violated, he or she is a human being with rights and dignity and that human rights are for all, especially for the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.
SONA STATEMENT of Citizens’ Council for Human Rights*
In a little less than a month since his inauguration, President Rodrigo Duterte has delivered on his campaign promise to go after suspected drug pushers and users with little or no regard for human rights and due process. Units of the Philippine National Police, under the command of his close associate General Ronald (“Bato”) de la Rosa, have turned many low-income neighborhoods in the country into free fire zones. The bloody encounters taking place daily have polarized the country between those who support the president’s quick and dirty methods of dealing with drugs and crime and those who regard them as illegal, immoral, and self-defeating.
To date, more than 500 people had been killed in intensified anti-drug operations since the May 9 elections in which Duterte emerged as the victor. The pattern is worrisome: The police announce that drug pushers or users have been killed in an operation. Slain people are shown on television, invariably with firearms near their hands. The now routine police explanation: “The victims resisted arrest and fired on us, so we had to shoot them in self defense.” In some instances, the police story borders on the incredible. In a Pasay City precinct, for instance, two manacled suspects are shown on television being led into jail. Shortly thereafter, a policeman emerges to tell the press the father and son were shot dead inside the jail since they tried to reach for the police's pistols and had to be killed "in self-defense."
July 14, 2016 - The Citizen’s Council for Human Rights (CCHR) today asked President Rodrigo Duterte to initiate measures that will halt the surge of extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and drug offenders. The group also called for the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for human rights violations committed in the course of the war on drugs.
In a press statement, CCHR said that the President’s campaign for peace and order has resulted in an alarming rise in killings, which has already claimed 251 lives between May 10 and July 13. According to Max de Mesa, chair of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and convenor of CCHR, the arbitrary killing of suspected offenders violates the right to due process and denies citizens the right to a fair trial.