On Int'l Human Rights Day, De Lima calls for condemnation of killings in PH


Posted at Dec 09 2017 05:09 PM

MANILA - Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Saturday called on the United Nations to pass a resolution condemning extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate reported cases. 

In a statement ahead of International Human Rights on Sunday, De Lima alleged that the Philippine government is involved in "attacks against their own civilian population that undeniably amount to crimes against humanity."

"Here in the Philippines, acting on instructions, instigations and incitements from no less than the President, the police and vigilantes have killed more than 10,000 alleged drug offenders in a spate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the so-called war on drugs, which is actually a war against our people, especially the poor," De Lima said.

The administration has several times denied it sanctions summary killings. Authorities have said some 3,800 drug suspects slain in police anti-drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took his post in July 2016 had put up violent resistance. 

The Philippine National Police earlier said not a single case of extrajudicial killing has been recorded under Duterte's term. The administration has also dismissed estimates by human rights groups that drug-related deaths have reached more than 10,000. 

The senator, currently detained over drug charges for her alleged involvement in the drug trade when she was Justice Secretary, has been a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown on illegal drugs.

De Lima urged the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to condemn killings in the Philippines and called upon the International Criminal Court to probe cases of extrajudicial slays.

She urged the UN to "pass a resolution condemning the extrajudicial killings, urging its immediate stoppage, and recommending the prompt and effective investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and masterminds."

De Lima meanwhile called on the Human Rights Council to "establish an independent international commission of inquiry or an investigative commission to ferret out the truth and identify accountabilities for the mass murders."

"We, the people ourselves, have to act – act with urgency and in solidarity with each other. With political leaders themselves demonizing their own people, and even instigating the widespread attacks against them, the need for all of us to stand up for the basic values of human dignity and equality of everyone everywhere has now become extremely urgent," she said.

Earlier, Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, was supposed to investigate reported summary killings and rights abuses in the drug war. 

But she did not push through as the administration imposed conditions, including a public debate with President Rodrigo Duterte. 

In her statement, De Lima called on government to "finally extend the invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur" for an independent investigation.