WASHINGTON - The US State Department said on Monday the United States is concerned about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, where officials say more than 400 suspected drug dealers have been killed by police since President Rodrigo Duterte took over.
"We believe in rule of law we believe in due process we believe in respect for universal human rights. We believe fundamentally that those aspects insure and promote long term security. We are concerned by these detentions as well as the extra judicial killing of individuals suspected to be involved in drug activity in the Philippines," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said at a news briefing.
The United States is urging the Philippines to "ensure its law enforcement efforts comply with its human rights obligations," Trudeau said.
President Duterte has vowed to wipe out drug crime within six months but, according to Chito Gascon, head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the aggressive rhetoric behind his promises has already instilled a sense of impunity among the police.
We can't build a nation by killing citizens: Duterte
Duterte has predicted that if the tide of drug addiction in the Philippines is not pushed back, it will become a narco-state.
In 2012, the United Nations said the Philippines had the highest rate of methamphetamine use in East Asia, and according to a U.S. State Department report, 2.1 percent of Flipinos aged 16 to 64 use the drug, which is known locally as "shabu."
On Sunday Duterte publicly named more than 160 judges, mayors, legislators, police and military individuals allegedly involved in narcotics and warned them to surrender.
DUTERTE'S LIST: 'Narco' politicos, lawmen, judges
Before meeting the Philippine president in Manila last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry said "civil and human rights need to be protected even as we work to keep our societies safe," but did not explicitly condemn Duterte's violent crackdown.
A former US colony, the Philippines and the United States have long shared a military treaty. With Agence France-Presse