End the Philippines War on Drugs
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How many deaths is enough to realize an unviable solution?
Extrajudicial killings are not the answer, the world need to hear what is really going on with Duterte.
Read the Human Rights Watch Philippines World Report to educate yourself on the truth. Help end the Philippines War on Drugs by bringing this world issue and its human rights violations to light.
Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization made up of human rights professionals. Collecting information, statistics, and stories, the organization publishes many reports on human rights violating issues. They are collect information from almost 90 countries and their publications are read and referenced internationally. One of their larger and current initiatives is on the long and ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines. The drug war began on June 30, 2016, announced by current and long running President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte’s domestic policy has focused on stopping the illegal drug trade by commencing the Philippine Drug War. In an effort to control the drug trafficking, the government encourages police enforced brutality on anyone affiliated with drugs, which has ended up making many innocent people the victim of this war. The government has recently pulled out of the ICC (International Criminal Court) and has a track record of false claims and reports on the events in the country. Human Rights Watch has reported that 12000 Filipinos have been killed, 2555 because of police brutality. Despite intervention and an increase in negative attention, President Duterte has vowed to continue this drug war campaign.
The Philippine War on Drugs is entirely a world issue. In addition to violating an extent of human rights, the ongoing conflict is challenging its physical borders. Human Rights Watch has done a tremendous amount of work to cover the events of the war on drugs; bringing attention to both the severity of the issue and the truth behind what is being falsified by the Philippines government. An annual report of the drug war has been updated by Human Rights Watch, detailing each of the human rights violations of this conflict. This war violates several human rights through extrajudicial killings and attacks on human rights defenders, children, journalists. There have been several deaths by police, especially to innocent citizens. Also, the government falsified evidence on the death toll in an effort to justify the killings as ‘obstructing justice’; “Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) data indicates that police operations resulted in the deaths of 3,906 suspected drug users and dealers from July 1, 2016, to September 26, 2017. But unidentified gunmen have killed thousands more, bringing the total death toll to more than 12,000, according to credible media reports” (“World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Philippines.”). President Duterte’s campaign is very public in its support of violent police intervention. However, human rights are further violated by targeting specific groups. Duterte has sought to cut funding for human rights, giving groups a smaller voice and making them a larger target. “In August, Duterte encouraged police attacks against human rights groups and advocates, instructing police, “If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them””(“World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Philippines.”). Another group targeted is children. “In July, a Philippine children’s rights group published data indicating that police have killed 56 children since the start of the “drug war.” Most were killed while in the company of adults who were the apparent target of the shooting. Both Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II have dismissed those child killings as “collateral damage”...In August, the government approved mandatory drug testing for high school and college students and applicants. This will effectively allow the police to extend their abusive anti-drug operations to high schools and university campuses” (“World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Philippines.”). The Duterte government is looking to end the illegal drug trade by killing any ‘relative’ aspects, in this case “collateral damage” is extremely problematic term by normalizing and justifying the mass innocent killings. Yet another targeted group are journalists attempting to cover the issue. “On social media, pro-Duterte trolls and supporters – some of them officially working for the government – have threatened violence against human rights advocates, including Human Rights Watch staff and journalists who report critically on the “drug war”” (“Philippines: Duterte's 'Drug War' Claims 12,000+ Lives.”).
It is not only the violation of human rights making this conflict a world issue, the extent of this violence has turned caused the world to get involved. First, Human Rights Watch involvement in the issue, sending journalists and human rights advocates to report on the events, is crossing borders to make this an geopolitical concern. Deciding who is going to enter the Philippines to involve themselves in the conflict, and the Philippines response are all geopolitical decisions. A more recent concern that has stirred yet further geopolitical decision making is the fact that the Philippines has withdrawn from the International Criminal Court, potentially in hopes of avoiding charged based on false claims. However, this will not be effective for some time. “President Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, dismissed the ICC's examination as a "waste of time and resources… "This announcement is a warning to leaders around the world that those who order or incite crimes against humanity including murder will not be able to get away with it, and will be subject to investigation under international law," said James Gomez, Amnesty's south-east Asia director” (BBC, Feb. 8, 2018). “Mr. Duterte temporarily placed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in charge of the drug war last year after police officers were found to have killed three teenagers and then lied about how the boys died. News of their deaths prompted protests and a Senate investigation. The exact number of people killed since Mr. Duterte’s drug war took effect in 2017 is unknown. The government says fewer than 4,000 suspects have been killed, but Human Rights Watch last week estimated the figure at more than 12,000” (Villamor, Feb. 2, 2018). Following several false claims and extrajudicial killings, international concern for the liability of the Philippines has risen. “The truth is, the Philippine government needs to answer for the more than 12,000 lives lost without due process in this brutal campaign across the country. The government should stop depicting itself as the victim,” said Human Rights Watch Philippine researcher Carlos Conde” (Gamil, Inquirer News). As the drug war continues in its second year, the proof that extraducial and targeted killings are not a viable solution to the drug trade.
Human Rights Watch has made itself a major figurehead in the involvement of the Philippine War on Drugs. However, due to the extent of the violence and targeting of human rights activists and journalists, the groups main initiative has been bringing awareness and up to date, true report on the issue. This has not altered the impact of the initiative though, as Human Rights Watch has asserted itself as a very reliable source; providing true statistics on the killings. The group itself and affiliate reporters have been quoted as a reliable source in many articles concerning the drug war; including CBS News, The New York Times, and BBC. A CBS article suggested Duterte is violating women's rights; ”The U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch said the remark last week was the latest in a "series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women" that encourage state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflicts” (CBS News, Feb. 13, 2018). These secondary sources not only provide coverage as the HRW reports do, they incorporate subsequent information that isn’t directly in the reports.
“World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Philippines.” Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch, 19 Jan. 2018, www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/philippines
“Philippines: Duterte's 'Drug War' Claims 12,000+ Lives.” Human Rights Watch, 18 Jan. 2018, www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/18/philippines-dutertes-drug-war-claims-12000-lives
“Philippines Drugs War: ICC Announces Initial Inquiry into Killings.” BBC News, BBC, 8 Feb. 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42992463
Villamor, Felipe. “Philippine Police Resume War on Drugs, Killing Dozens.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Feb. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/world/asia/philippines-drug-war.html
Gamil, Jaymee T. “Rights Group Sneers at Gov't 'Playing Victim' in Drug War.” Inquirer News, Inquirer.net, newsinfo.inquirer.net/972601/rights-group-sneers-at-govt-playing-victim-in-drug-war.
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Slammed over Threat to Shoot Rebels in the Genitals.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 13 Feb. 2018, www.cbsnews.com/news/philippine-president-rodrigo-duterte-slammed-over-threat-to-shoot-rebels-in-the-genitals/
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