[JURIST] The number of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines is critically high, according to UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions [official website] Philip Alston [NYU Law profile], who on Wednesday reported on his 10-day investigation into the surge of political murders in the Philippines [JURIST news archive]. Alston said that many of the killings were committed by the Philippine military, and that the existence of such killings is "corrosive" and "severely undermines the political discourse which is central to a resolution of the problems confronting this country." Alston called upon the military to begin its own legitimate probe into the killings, and that in doing so, "its reputation and effectiveness will be considerably enhanced."
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] sent Alston to investigate claims [JURIST report] by human rights organizations that more than 800 political activists, human-rights workers, trade union officials, lawyers and judges have been murdered throughout the country since Philippines President Gloria Arroyo [official website; BBC profile] came to power in 2001. The Philippines government pledged to cooperate fully [JURIST report] with Alston's investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings upon his arrival in the country February 12. Reuters has more.