An interfaith delegation from the Philippines raised concerns over drug-related killings during a meeting with the special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings at the United Nations.
“We have documented many of the thousands that were killed without due process, mostly from urban poor communities,” said Redemptorist Brother Ciriaco Santiago. He said the impact of the killings “is mind-numbing and heart-wrenching.”
“The victims have left behind many orphaned children and young and jobless widows,” said Brother Santiago who joined the Philippine Universal Periodic Review Watch, a network of faith-based and human rights groups, at the meeting in Geneva on April 5.
Father Jonash Joyohoy, a member of the Philippine Independent Church, also raised before the international body the lack of government action “to actively protect” human rights defenders.
Father Joyohoy said activists and human rights advocates are “subjected to threat and intimidation, surveillance, trumped up charges, red-tagging, enforced disappearances, and killings.”
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, in its presentation before the U.N. body, cited the killings of tribal people and poor farmers caught in he middle of the government’s anti-insurgency war.
“This culture of impunity is a major factor for continued violations of human rights under the present government,” said Johanna May dela Cruz of the Protestant church organization.
The interfaith group called on the international community to pressure the Philippine government to end the killings.
The third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines human rights situation is set for May 8.