Watchdog says ASEAN must stand vs. killings in Philippines
An international human rights watchdog is calling on Southeast Asian leaders to take a stand against the Philippines’ war on drugs that has left thousands dead under President Rodrigo Duterte, the host of this week’s regional summit.
Amnesty International said leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations must consider whether the killings amount to a serious breach of ASEAN’s charter, particularly its pledge to human rights.
It said up to 9,000 people have been killed by police or unknown armed persons since July 2016. Officials said not all deaths being reported are drug-related while others were killed in legitimate police operations.
“As the death toll mounts, so does evidence of the Philippines authorities’ role in the bloodshed,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Patel said the Philippines’ chairing the ASEAN summit “is a scandal, and should prompt the government to make independent and effective investigations into unlawful killings an immediate priority.”