MANILA – The European Union (EU) on Thursday raised concerns about the human rights situation in the Philippines before the United Nations Human Rights Council as the casualties in President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs continue.
In its statement to the UN body, the EU said while it recognizes the importance of fighting the drug menace, it is alarmed by the “very high number of killings in this fight.”
More than 7,000 have died in the war on drugs, including extra-judicial killings, according to human rights organizations.
“The EU reiterates the importance of implementing the fight against drug crime in accordance with the rule of law and in respect of human rights. This must include the right to due process and safeguarding the right to life as well as the respect of the proportionality principle,” the EU said in its statement before the 34th session of the council in Geneva, Switzerland.
Duterte has slammed the EU and United States for criticizing his war on drugs, saying western countries should not be imposing their values on the Philippines.
There have been calls for the EU and US to suspend aid to the Philippines, but this has not deterred the Filipino leader from pursuing his controversial policies.
The EU has also raised concerns about the Philippines’ plan to reimpose the death penalty. Restoring capital punishment might prompt the wealthy block of nations to withdraw the trade perks it grants to the Philippines.
“The EU calls on the Philippines to respect its obligations under international law and not to adopt bills reintroducing the death penalty or on lowering the age of criminal responsibility to 9 years currently under discussion in the Philippines,” he said.