Stand for Human Rights, Resist Threats Against Human Rights Advocates

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) condemns in the highest degree, the latest pronouncement of President Duterte over the threat to shoot human rights advocates. This statement can be construed as state policy and will definitely put the life of many human rights advocates at risk and target for killing spree by State security forces.

Quoting from his speech during the 19th founding Anniversary of Volunteers Against Crimes and Corruption (VACC), Duterte said,

Sabihin mo, ‘Pulis, barilin mo na ‘yang kasali diyan, para makita talaga kung anong klaseng human right.” (Tell them, police, shoot him/her who are participating there [referring to protests against war on drugs] so they will see what kind of human right).

That in itself isa declaration of war against human rights defenders and advocates. Not only does he exacerbate the culture of impunity but he actually instigates it. Does this mean that these pronouncements will be implemented the way the war on drugs is being carried out?

The war on drugs must be stopped. From the onset, CTUHR staunchly criticized the war on drugs that has killed thousands of lives as anti-poor and will not solve the country’s ails. Human Rights organizations have been calling on the government to address the drug problem of the country in a holistic way – by sending the big drug dealers in his “Narco List”, including those in the bureaucracy and military with connections to foreign drug suppliers. Yet, President Duterte has put the blame on human rights organizations for the swelling of drug users. He said the latter defend their rights and were silent about heinous crimes. Addressing heinous crimes is not the responsibility of human rights defenders, it is the responsibility of the state, particularly the police.

PDuterte curses the church, media, critics and everyone who oppose or criticize his campaign against drugs. His administration is zealously claiming that there were only 78,941 recorded crime cases from July 2016 to March 2017, a 50% compared to the 158,879 crime cases during Aquino administration. But it did not say the staggering increase in war on drug- related murder cases, which stand at 13,000 and 67 victims of political killings in Duterte administration’s first year in office. The murder of Kian De los Santos, the grade 11 kid should be a telling reminder that his war on drugs has to end now.

CTUHR reiterates its call to stop the war on drugs and stop the killings and calls on PDuterte to retract its open threat to human rights advocates. People had enough of the bloodshed.###