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UN rights chief: Human Rights Council should consider new accountability measures for Philippines ‘war on drugs’
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UN rights chief: Human Rights Council should consider new accountability measures for Philippines ‘war on drugs’

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stated Tuesday that the Human Rights Council should consider new accountability measures in the Philippines’ “war on drugs.”

Bachelet said that the laws created to counter national security threats and illegal drugs severely impacted human rights, resulting in killings, detentions and vilification. Between 2015 and 2019, more than 248 human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and trade unionists were killed.

According to Bachelet, the “war on drugs” has resulted in serious human rights violations, including widespread and systematic killings. The campaign has been carried out “without due regard for the rule of law, due process and the human rights of people who may be using or selling drugs.” The state has been unwilling to hold the killers accountable, even while the campaign has been ineffective in reducing illicit drugs.

Bachelet also expressed concern over the new Anti-Terrorism Act, which could blur “important distinctions between criticism, criminality and terrorism.” The act could hinder human rights and humanitarian work, so she urged the Philippines President to refrain from signing it into law.

To combat these issues, Bachelet stated:

I urge the Council to remain active and vigilant on the situation in the Philippines, by mandating my Office to continue monitoring and reporting, as well as through support for technical cooperation to implement the report’s recommendations. The State has an obligation to conduct independent investigations into the grave violations we have documented. In the absence of clear and measurable outcomes from domestic mechanisms, the Council should consider options for international accountability measures.