How You Can Help Challenge Duterte’s Slaughter of People Who Use Drugs

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Since his presidential inauguration in June 2016, Rodrigo Duterte has turned the Philippines into hell on earth for some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

“What Duterte has unleashed on the Philippines is nothing less than a human rights calamity,” says Phelim Kine, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's (HRW) Asia Division. “He has instigated and incited police and agents to commit extrajudicial executions of suspected drug users and dealers in a campaign that has focused almost exclusively on the Philippines’ poorest and most marginalised communities.”

The precise number of deaths are uncertain. On May 8 2018, the Philippines National Police claimed that 4,251 “drug suspects” had been killed since the drug war slaughter began. According to HRW, over 12,000 people have been killed for alleged involvement with drugs since Duterte rose to power. One opposition Filipino senator estimates that over 20,000 people have been slaughtered.

While statistics remain unclear, it is indisputable that police and anti-drug vigilantes are leaving trails of bodies in the streets, while opponents of the drug war are silenced and attacked.

Duterte himself has suggested his drug war is an act of genocide; "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews," he said in October 2016, "now ... there's 3 million drug addicts ... I'd be happy to slaughter them" to "finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition".

Many people around the world are wondering how to put a stop to this vicious unfolding extermination.

“Being aware of what is going on and elevating the conversation is one way to get involved,” says Hannah Hetzer, Senior International Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We can support international coalitions pushing for criminal court proceedings and also a UN investigation into human rights abuses to put international pressure on Duterte to be held accountable.”

 

You can help challenge President Duterte’s brutal war on people by following and supporting these organisations:

 

 

Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ANPUD) | www.anpud.org

ANPUD aims to ensure the meaningful involvement of people who use drugs in policies and programmes that affect them. They successfully campaigned to have an app promoting Duterte removed from Apple's app store, and launched a Stop Duterte Now campaign on June 30, 2017.

 

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) | https://philippinehumanrights.org/

A Filipino civil society organisation committed to the promotion, protection and realisation of human rights in the Philippines.

 

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) | http://www.humanrightsphilippines.net/

A global network of organisations that aims to inform the international community about the grave human rights situation in the Philippines today. It is sponsoring a Stop the Killing tour in the United States to raise awareness of the human rights violations in the Philippines.

 

Amnesty International | https://www.amnesty.org/

A renowned organisation advancing human rights around the world. The site offers a platform for visitors to write to Philippine Senators to urge them to oppose Duterte’s war on people.

 

StoptheDrugWar.org | https://stopthedrugwar.org/

This site pushes for an end to the international war on drugs and has a page dedicated exclusively to the situation in the Philippines where there are links to different ways of getting involved.

 

For readers in the United States…

A bill has been introduced in Congress, but not yet voted on, which would limit US funding to the Philippines for police operations: the Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017 – S1055. Urge your Senator to support it here.

 

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“We need to speak out against the killings, as well as challenge the Duterte administration’s attacks against any individual or institution that opposes his policies,” says Gloria Lai, Asia Regional Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium.

Using the links above, let’s start now.

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Tessie Castillo is the communications and advocacy coordinator of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC).