PH rights situation ‘worsened’ because of Duterte gov’t’s ‘aggressive’ war on drugs – EU annual world report

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Reuters file photo of President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA Philippines — Despite “positive developments” in forging peace with rebels and moves to address poverty, the human rights situation in the Philippines “has considerably worsened as a consequence” of President Rodrigo Durerte’s war on drugs campaign, the European Union said it its annual report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World.

The recently released 2016 report noted that while “some trends and circumstances detrimental to human rights, such as extrajudicial killings and the climate of impunity were already present under previous administrations,” the last six months of last year “was marked with serious deterioration in respect for the right to life, due process and the rule of law.”

It cited the war on drug’s killing of 6,000 Filipinos and the arrest of 40,000 others from July to mid-December of 2016 based on data from Philippine National Police as reported in the media, with one-third of the deaths occurring in police operations.

The EU said Duterte’s “statements and actions have seemingly encouraged the police to take an aggressive approach in dealing with drug users and pushers, and have — according to human rights advocates — also encouraged vigilante style extrajudicial killings.”

Meanwhile, the EU approved the Duterte administration’s “new momentum provided to” the Mindanao Peace Process, peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front “and a socio-economic agenda aimed at lifting people out of poverty.”