Filipinos in Switzerland call for UN attention to PH drug war

MANILA, Philippines – As the body count rises in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, Filipinos in Switzerland are seeking the support of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

A group of Filipinos staged a protest on Tuesday, September 13, before the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and the UN Palais des Nations.

They sought to raise alarm on what they called the "worst wave of summary killings" in the Philippines over the last 3 decades.

The demonstration was timed with the opening of the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where UNHRC Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticized Philippine President Duterte for his "lack of understanding" of human rights institutions.

Based on latest government figures, 3,426 people have died in the government's campaign against illegal drugs. Of this number, 1,935 were victims of extrajudicial killings, while 1,491 were killed in police operations.

The Filipino protesters in Geneva called on Duterte to revisit his standing shoot-to-kill orders in the anti-drug efforts, and to discourage vigilantism and extrajudicial killings.

The protesters also appealed to the UN Human Rights Council to help the Philippine government in resolving the cases of extrajudicial killings. They also want the Philippine government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Killings to assist in addressing the problem.

“While the intention of getting rid of, or at least minimizing the country’s illicit drug problem is laudable, it has to be asserted that extrajudicial killings cannot be accepted, for the ‘ends do not justify the means,'" said the group's spokesperson Annie Yuson.

"Accepting extrajudicial killings for the drug problem can set a dangerous precedent that can spread to other areas and promote a culture of impunity,” Yuson added. –