Top Philippine official to face questions at UN rights body

Top Philippine official to face questions at UN rights body

GENEVA — A top Philippine official is set to be questioned next week at the U.N. Human Rights Council on issues such as extrajudicial killings and vigilante justice alleged to be occurring in President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly fight against illegal drugs.

The Philippines is one of 14 countries whose records are being examined in the latest session of the Universal Periodic Review, which examines issues in all 193 U.N. member states. Britain is on tap Thursday and the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign and moves to restore the death penalty are among the issues set for discussion on Monday.

Menardo Guevarra, a senior deputy executive secretary in Duterte’s office, is leading the delegation. Also participating is senator and staunch Duterte supporter Alan Peter Cayetano, who told reporters “our strategy is simple: The facts being said about the campaign against drugs are wrong.”

Human Rights Watch on Thursday called on the U.N. to denounce the Philippines’ “war on drugs” that it said has left more than 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users dead since Duterte took office on June 30 and to urge the country to support an international investigation into the killings.

“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, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director. “Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ has been nothing less than a murderous war on the poor.”

Amnesty International Philippines says the review should highlight persisting problems, including the high number of extrajudicial executions and moves to reinstate the death penalty.

The government is also releasing new data in an attempt to refute death tolls ranging from more than 7,000 to 9,000 cited by human rights groups and the media that were based on previous numbers released by police.

Numbers released by the presidential palace, the Philippine National Police and other government agencies this week showed nearly 4,600 people have been killed in drug-related crime since July 1 and over 1.2 million drug suspects have surrendered.

The death toll includes more than 2,700 suspected drug dealers and users killed in police operations and 1,847 homicides investigated and found to be drug-related.

Police said 19.6 per cent of the country’s 9,432 recorded homicides from July 1 to March 31 were drug-related. About 20 per cent of homicides were unrelated to drugs, while the rest are still under investigation.

The higher figures released by police earlier and cited by media and human rights groups included deaths still under investigation, which officials now clarify were not all drug-related.

“The fact that the new PNP figures are inconsistent with the numbers released by the media or human rights organizations on extrajudicial executions, or even their own previous numbers, means that there may be more unreported cases, not less,” said Amnesty International Philippines head Ritz Lee Santos, III.

He said the police should “send a clear message that the state-sponsored unlawful killings of alleged offenders are never justified and are equivalent to extrajudicial executions which they should vow to end.”

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Saanich seals history with time capsule

Saanich will re-open time capsule in 2067

Canadian military gains valuable disaster experience at RIMPAC

Naval, air force and army personnel practise war activities, humanitarian relief

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

Croatia loses in World Cup final, Victoria fans still jubilant

“We’re just a small little country, we only have 4.5 million people, and look how far we’ve come.”

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Royal Victoria Yacht Club sends strong presence to BC Summer Games

Oak Bay athlete Max Chapman competes in sailing this week

Non-union construction industry fears exclusion in B.C.

Premier John Horgan imposes ‘project labour agreements’ for public works

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Beacon Hill off to Little League provincials after big win in district final

Victoria team goes 7-0 for the week in Central Saanich, beats host team 10-1 in final

5 things to do this weekend around Victoria

The sounds of summer Rock the Shores returns to the lower fields… Continue reading

Most Read