Drug campaign in Philippines killed more than 100 children, HRW reports – BenarNews


More than 100 children have been killed in the Duterte administration’s drug crackdown, and thousands more suffer emotional trauma and economic upheaval due to the loss of loved ones, Human Rights Watch said in a published report. Wednesday.

The New York-based group released its 48-page report ahead of a report on the war on drugs in the Philippines due to be released next month in Geneva by Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights .

“Filipino children have suffered terribly from President Duterte’s decision to unleash the police and his contract killers on drug addicts,” said Carlos Conde, Filipino HRW researcher. “The government must end this endless violence that disrupts the lives of children and provide direct assistance to injured children.

For its report, Human Rights Watch interviewed dozens of people including 10 children, parents, non-governmental organizations, and community leaders.

Child rights activists in the Philippines have documented 101 children who were killed in drug operations from 2016 to 2018, HRW said.

The dead continue.

HRW reported that 8-year-old Ronjhay Furio was shot dead in a district of Manila by four gunmen who were wearing civilian clothes and motorcycle helmets on January 27, while buying chicken from a vendor.

More recently, police have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a convenient smokescreen to prosecute murders, HRW has alleged.

“The violence of the war on drugs has not stopped even under COVID-19, based on our monitoring of police and media reports,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the monitoring group for the ‘Asia.

“There have been almost daily reports of the typical drug war buyout or raid that resulted in a murder. A concern for us is that, because people and communities are locked up, it means limited chances of people witnessing the drug raids, thus making the violence undocumented, without witnesses, ”said Robertson.

He said the Philippine police sometimes fabricated evidence to justify their version of events.

Harry Roque, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report on Wednesday. The president’s office has repeatedly denied that any of these drug-related extrajudicial executions were sanctioned by the state.

HRW released the report a day after the birthday of Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was 17 when he was killed by police on August 16, 2017.

Officers mistakenly identified delos Santos as a drug addict and took him to a nearby pigsty where he was shot while begging for his life. Kian’s murder prompted thousands of Filipinos to march against Duterte’s war on drugs. Three police officers were found guilty of charges related to his murder.

‘Psychological distress’

Amid the ongoing killings, children here are known to suffer “psychological distress and all have experienced economic hardship made worse by the death of a breadwinner,” according to the HRW report.

“Some children who have lost a family member have been bullied in their school and their community,” Conde said. “Some were forced to live on the streets.

“Police and police backed vigilantes are responsible for these drug war-related killings,” Conde said. “The government should provide special support to these children, including counseling on reparations and other forms of assistance to help them overcome the trauma of the loss of their loved ones. “

Police have recorded around 6,000 deaths of suspected drug addicts and drug dealers who have died in shootings since Duterte came to power in mid-2016, according to official figures.

The number does not include many others who were killed by unknown vigilantes, who typically left signs on corpses warning people of a similar fate if they got tangled up in drugs, according to groups of people. defense of rights.

Robert A.

One of those interviewed by HRW for the report, identified only as Robert A., said he stopped attending school at age 15 after his father was killed by unknown vigilantes in December 2016 He said he saw four men in two motorcycles shoot his father.

After the shooting, Robert had to work as a garbage collector to feed himself and provide for his siblings.

“I had to work harder when my father died,” HRW said, citing HRW. “I became a father to my siblings because I don’t want to see them suffer. … So I do everything I can. I force myself to work even if I don’t want to. I force myself for myself, for my brothers and sisters.

His younger brother, who was 13 at the time, witnessed the shooting. He suffered a leg injury and became irritable and easily gets angry.

The two and their sister, who was 10 at the time, no longer attend school and live on the streets of Mandaluyong.

“Our happy family is gone,” he said. “We have no one to call father now.”

Concluding its report, HRW issued a series of recommendations, including calling on Duterte to issue a presidential proclamation formally ending the “war on drugs”. Other recommendations included investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrators, including law enforcement personnel, prompt and fair compensation to victims, and full cooperation with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. .

The report is expected to be followed by that of Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in June. Its report is the result of a resolution adopted in 2019 by the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution was supported by 18 board members, while 14 members opposed and 15 abstained.

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