United Nations member countries should denounce the Philippines’ brutal “war on drugs” that has killed more than 7,000 people since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. The Philippines will appear for the third cycle of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on May 8, 2017, in Geneva.
UN member countries should urge the Philippines to support an international investigation into the killings, given the Philippine government’s own failure to impartially investigate or prosecute those responsible, Human Rights Watch said. Various UN bodies, the media, and Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations have reported on the extrajudicial killings, which may amount to crimes against humanity.
“The UN review of the Philippines is critical because of the sheer magnitude of the human rights calamity since President Duterte took office last year,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has been nothing less than a murderous war on the poor.”
At the UPR, the human rights progress of each UN member country is reviewed every four years. Members and observers of the UN Human Rights Council will raise the Philippines’ past human rights pledges and new concerns. The previous reviews of the Philippines were in 2008 and 2012. This year’s review covers the last four years of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III and the period since Duterte took office.