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.
The Citizen’s Council for Human Rights (CCHR) strongly condemns the escalating number of killings of suspected drug pushers and drug dependents who said to have died either during so-called legitimate police operations or at the hands of unknown gunmen.
The surge in fatalities is too alarming to be ignored: from January 1 to May 9 this year (129 days), reported deaths from drug-related violence was 39. But the death count suddenly swelled after May 10. In a matter of 64 days, 251 deaths have already been reported. What makes these spate of executions most worrisome is that this was prompted by President Duterte’s pronouncements, made even before his assumption into office, that urged the police, ordinary citizens and later, the New Peoples Army to kill all those involved in the illegal drug trade, with the promise that he would shield them against any legal consequences.
The people has chosen you as the new primary duty-bearers of the State's obligations to respect, protect and fulfill all human rights of all its constituencies who have been short-changed or failed by the past administrations since the uprising in EDSA against the dictatorship of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Headed by Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the national Chief Executive and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, together with the local executives and the national and local legislators, either newly elected or re-elected, are the duty bearers of human rights.
Everyone of you, chosen candidates, will have been sworn in as Duty-bearers by June 30, 2016 to uphold the Philippine Constitution. Among others this solemn oath include provisions pertaining explicitly to human rights, such as Article II: The Declaration of Principles and State’s Policies, and Article III: The Bill of Rights. Obligations to human rights became more explicit when the country signed and ratified international human rights treaties, among others, the United Nations International Bill of Rights (UN IBR) including the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights (which abolishes the death penalty), the UN Convention Against Torture (UN CAT), UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), UN Convention on International Humanitarian Law including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.