The statements were delivered via the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and their partner Rise Up.
The first statement, delivered during the Inter-active dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary executions, expressed concern that extrajudicial killings in the Philippines have increased by 50 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. “Reports of numbers of alleged drug suspects that have been killed during police operations vary, from 8,000 to around 30,000 since President Duterte took office,” reads the statement. “Killings by security forces escalated also against perceived political opponents, as well as lawyers and civil society members that are critical of the government.”
The statement laments the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines. “We echo the call of the outgoing Special Rapporteur for accountability, and affirm the need to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for violations of the right to life and to compensate the families of victims,” reads the statement. “We renew our appeal to the members of the Human Rights Council to call for an independent investigation into the human rights violations in the Philippines.”
The second statement, delivered during the Inter-active dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, expressed concern over the growing numbers of persons deprived of liberty in connection with the so-called “war on drugs.”
The Philippines has the highest jail occupancy rate in the world. “Detention facilities are under lockdown with the COVID-19 pandemic, denying detainee family visits and meetings with legal counsel,” reads the statement. “This only exacerbates the situation of long pretrial detentions.”
Most recent available statistics say that thousands are still awaiting trial on non-bailable drug related charges for an average of more than 500 days since 2018. “We reiterate our call for an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines including arbitrary detention and extra-judicial killings as a result of President Duterte’s policies,” reads the statement.