NEW YORK (November 10, 2017) — In an open letter sent on November 10, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and eleven other international organizations urge U.S. President Donald Trump to denounce the gross human rights abuses that have taken place in the Philippines since the launch of President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent anti-drug campaign. The letter asks President Trump to demand that Duterte’s government ensure proper accountability for the victims of this campaign and bring justice to their families. Since 2016, and at President Duterte’s request, the Philippines National Police (PNP) has initiated and carried out a series of operations characterized by police brutality, violations of due process, and extrajudicial executions. The anti-drug campaign has also led to the arrest of ov er 110,000 people, causing overcrowding and other inhumane conditions in prisons.
“Duterte has encouraged the gross abuse of power by the Philippines National Police. As a result, thousands of innocent people have died,” HRF President Thor Halvorssen said. “President Trump should make use of his significant influence on his Asia tour by lending his voice to the victims and their families.”
President Duterte has attributed the high number of deaths to “collateral damage” perpetrated by “rogue” police, instead of to his authoritarian policies. However, investigations by human rights groups have revealed that the police may have been rewarded financially for the killings and may have planted evidence at crime scenes.
The letter also calls on the United States government to withdraw its recent commitment to grant two million dollars to the Philippines government for drug demand reduction programs, or to condition the grant on the verification that President Duterte has taken credible and verifiable measures towards attaining full accountability over police abuses and providing compensation to the victims’ families.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.
Call on President Trump to denounce the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and urge President Duterte to compensate the victims’ families.