Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2016
Source: New Age, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2016 TNA Media (Pty.)


MORE than 300 anti-narcotics and human rights groups from around the 
world yesterday called for the UN to condemn Philippine President 
Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs that has already killed hundreds of people.

The appeal, directed to the International Narcotics Control Board 
(INCB) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), came as an 
influential Philippine senator called for an investigation into the 
killings of suspected drug pushers that Duterte has endorsed.

Senator Leila de Lima and the foreign organisations cited reports of 
police killing hundreds of people since Duterte won May elections 
largely on a platform to wage a violent war on drugs.

"Instead of ensuring the protection and rights of people who use 
drugs, President Duterte has called for them to be killed," said the 
statement from groups such as the Australian Drug Foundation and 
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.

"Instead of ensuring the rights of people suspected of committing 
drugrelated crimes, the president has called for them to be executed 
on the spot."

The statement called on the INCB and the UNODC to condemn the 
killings and "demand an end to the atrocities".

De Lima, in a speech before senate, also lashed out at the killings.

"We cannot wage the war against drugs with blood. We will only be 
trading drug addiction with another more malevolent kind of 
addiction. This is compulsion for more killing," the senator, a 
former justice minister, who also headed the nation's human rights body, said.

De Lima said police were summarily killing even innocent people, 
using the anti-drug campaign as an excuse.

Since assuming the presidency on June 30, Duterte has promised to 
protect police and soldiers from sanctions for killing criminals and 
even urged ordinary citizens and communist rebels to join in the bloodshed.

While his campaign has been widely popular in the impoverished 
Philippines, more groups have begun criticising Duterte, with De Lima 
calling for a congressional probe into the killings.

The country's top broadcaster, ABSCBN, reported that 603 people had 
been killed since Duterte was elected, with 211 murdered by 
unidentified gunmen.

- -AFP
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom