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Impunity allows killings, human rights violations to thrive in PH — Amnesty International

By: Cathrine Gonzales – Reporter / INQUIRER.net / March 29, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — Impunity among perpetrators has provided the breeding ground for extrajudicial killings and human rights violations to flourish in the Philippines under the Duterte administration’s drug war, according to Amnesty International.

In its report for 2021 to 2022, the human rights watchdog also lamented that human rights defenders, political activists, and politicians were subjected to unlawful killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, and harassment.

“Lack of accountability continued to facilitate unlawful killings and other human rights violations under the government’s ‘war on drugs campaign,” AI stated.

Indigenous peoples were likewise targeted by attacks by authorities and unknown assailants, while inadequate access to healthcare “worsened” as COVID-19 infection rates rose, the report read.

“Extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations continued under the government’s ongoing ‘war on drugs. President Duterte continued to incite violence against people suspected of using or selling drugs,” it further said.

Meanwhile, the watchdog also lamented the Department of Justice’s review of just 52 “out of the thousands of cases involving killings by police during anti-drug operations.”

“Although the review was woefully inadequate and failed to meet international standards, its limited findings contradicted police claims that lethal force had been justified, and confirmed violations documented by local and international human rights groups,” the report read.

Amnesty International also lamented other issues including the suspension of the International Criminal Court’s investigation of alleged crimes against humanity, red-tagging, detention of Senator Leila De Lima, charges against journalist Maria Ressa, efforts to reimpose the death penalty, and the House of Representatives’ passage of a bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, among other concerns.

The watchdog pointed out that the bill “contained provisions that could encourage arbitrary arrests and would violate the right to a fair trial, including the presumption of innocence of people accused of using or selling drugs.”

INQUIRER.net has reached out to Malacañang through acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar for comment on Amnesty International’s report, but has not received a response as of posting.

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