12 June 2017

News Story: 32 countries urge Philippines to allow Callamard visit

By Janvic Mateo

MANILA, Philppines — Expressing “deep concerns” over the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs, 32 member-countries of the United Nations have urged the Philippines to allow the visit of special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard without preconditions or limitations.

Speaking in behalf of the signatories, Iceland’s permanent representative to the UN Högni Kristjánsson expressed alarm over the high number of deaths in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“We are alarmed that over 7,000 people have reportedly been killed since the anti-drug campaign was launched last July, many in circumstances, which remain, unexplained,” Kristjánsson said during the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) session in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

The government has disputed the number of deaths linked to the war on drugs, saying only 1,847 killings of 9,432 recorded from July 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 were considered drug related. Another 5,691 were listed as "under investigation" according to the latest data on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency website.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, then a senator, spoke before members of the HRC dismissed the reports of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines as "alternative facts" and said political opponents were "changed" the definition of extrajudicial killings to make the Duterte administration look bad.

Read the full story at PhilStar