Intl’l rights group to Duterte: Stop killings, disappearances

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2018 05:53 PM

MANILA - The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances on Friday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to stop extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances under his administration.

The group, which commemorated its 20th anniversary at the Commission on Human Rights office in Quezon City, said there are 535 reported incidents of human rights violations under the Duterte administration, 385 of which were committed in Mindanao under martial law. 

The AFAD reported that despite changing administrations, there are so far 1,993 documented cases, 1,166 are still disappeared, 584 surfaced alive and 243 were found dead.

The group also hit Duterte's ongoing campaign against illegal drugs, which led to deaths, mostly among the poor.

“This violent crackdown on illegal drugs has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the Marcos dictatorship with an unprecedented number of human rights violations and among which are enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings,” the AFAD said in a statement read by its Secretary General Mary Aileen Bacalso.

The government has many times denied involvement in summary killings, saying the nearly 4,000 drug suspects killed in police operations had put up violent resistance, prompting officers to defend themselves.

Human rights groups, however, say the police figures are understated and does not include killings by alleged state-sponsored “vigilantes.”

The group also said that the phenomenon of enforced disappearance is also widely experienced in the Asian region.

Asia had the most number of cases submitted to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, with 27,105 out of 45, 213 cases of enforced disappearances in the world.

CHR Chair Chito Gascon reiterated the call to recall the decision of President Duterte to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. 

“We should affirm to the global community that we are a country that is committed to international justice and to show that, we must provide full support to the International Criminal Court."

Gascon noted that the Philippines is the second country after Burundi to withdraw from the ICC while South Africa, while it also decided to leave the court, was not allowed by its Supreme Court to do so.