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Rodrigo Duterte’s first year: A human rights disaster the world prefers to ignore

Posted on 14 September 2017 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 14th September 2017

It turns out that the President of the Philippines is exactly who he said he was

Rodrigo Duterte’s first year as President of the Philippines should never be forgotten – for all the wrong reasons. For those directly affected by his brutal and lawless “war on drugs”, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people, the only hope is for an end to the suffering. But in the absence of a clear international declaration against Duterte’s disastrous regime, that hope is in vain.

The sad fact is that much of the suffering Duterte is inflicting was entirely predictable. The Philippines’ human rights institutions are fragile, and Duterte came to office with a well-known record as a mayor who sanctioned death squads to dole out vigilante justice in his city. But the international community failed to respond to his election with due alarm, and it is still failing to realise the sheer destruction the Duterte administration is causing. How bad will it need to get before other nations back away from him?

Nominally aimed at tackling a much-hyped but poorly understood methamphetamine “crisis”, the scores of extra-judicial killings have resulted in little capture of the networked organised crime Duterte says is behind the “drug menace”. Instead people are gunned down in the middle of the street by vigilantes or by an increasingly brazen police force, whether during arrest or in custody. Their corpses are left in the street, sometimes with a cardboard sign saying “drug user” or “pusher”.

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