In Case You Missed It — AlterNet: Rodrigo Duterte’s Barbaric War on Drugs; Thousands Are Being “Slaughtered Like Animals”

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Philippines PresidentRodrigo Duterte

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–December 9, 2016

By: Melissa Franqui

This week, a veteran photojournalist published a nightmarish photo essay and in-depth podcast in The New York Times: “They are Slaughtering Us like Animals: Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines.”

The searing images and descriptions of unrelenting injustices are dreadful enough to shake up even the most battle-tested war documentarians.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photog and essay author Daniel Berehulak says, “I have worked in 60 countries, covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa’s Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to ‘slaughter them all’.”

Philippine death squads, police and vigilantes alike have killed thousands of people suspected of using or selling drugs since June, an estimated 5,000 extrajudicial executions by some reports.  As the Times illustrated, these killings are taking place entirely in poor neighborhoods — in well-off enclaves, authorities are knocking on doors and distributing flyers, instead of bursting in with bullets.

Moreover, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have voluntarily turned themselves in to authorities in an effort to save their own lives. In the Quezon City Jail in Manila, Time magazine reports that as many as 3800 inmates are being housed in a facility meant to hold only 800 – the images from these jails are especially atrocious.

Most jails are holding up to five times their intended capacity.

But turning yourself in does not automatically grant you a reprieve. It was reported in the Times article that some of the victims who were brutalized and killed by masked men in the middle of the night had recently been incarcerated and released.

Intensifying the horror even further, last week U.S. President-elect Donald Trump held a telephone call with President Duterte, in which Trump praised his deadly crusade and invited him to visit the White House. After the phone call, Duterte said that Trump “was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs”. Trump apparently wished Duterte well in his ruthless war on drugs and said that the Philippines was “doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way.”

“It sounds like Donald Trump just gave a green light to murder,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “By effectively giving his blessing to Duterte’s murderous campaign, the President-elect has signaled to foreign leaders his disregard for both due process of law and human rights – and raised the possibility that he might one day treat U.S. law with the same contempt.”

Despite international calls for Duterte to end the extrajudicial killings, he has refused to change direction, responding to anyone who has questioned his strategy with insults, including President Obamathe Pope, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations. Last week, he also threatened to kill human rights defenders who attempt to intervene in his war on drugs.

Yesterday, in light of Trump’s conversation with Duterte, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest condemned the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. “The position of this administration, the current U.S. government, is simply that extrajudicial killings are entirely inconsistent with the notion of the rule of law and the commitment to upholding basic, universal human right,” Earnest said.

The U.S. State Department has continued to send millions of dollars in aid to police stations behind the killings, even as the death toll climbs.

Trump’s indifference to these crimes against humanity is an affront to basic human principles.  His appointment of drug war brutes like longtime extremists Senator Jeff Sessions, Rep. Tom Price, General John Kelly, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt also demonstrates his willingness to dangerously launch failed drug policies and tear down all of the painstaking progress we’ve made to treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one.

Do you think what’s happening in the Philippines can’t happen in the U.S.? Think again.

This article first appeared in AlterNet at: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/rodrigo-dutertes-barbaric-war-drugs-users-philippines-are-being-slaughtered-animals

Related Article:

Drug Policy Alliance

Trump Praises Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte On His Deadly War On Drugs;  Philippine Death Squads Have Killed Thousands of People Suspected of Using or Selling Drugs Since June, December 6, 2016

NEW YORK–On Saturday, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump held a telephone call with the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. According to Duterte, Trump praised Duterte’s deadly war on drugs and invited him to visit the White House. Upon assuming the presidency in June, Duterte made a public call for police and citizens alike to execute people who use or sell drugs, which has resulted in the murder of over 5,000 people suspected of being involved with drugs.

After the phone call, Duterte said that Trump “was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs”. Trump apparently wished Duterte well in his anti-drug campaign and said that the Philippines was “doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way.”

“It sounds like Donald Trump just gave a green light to murder,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “By effectively giving his blessing to Duterte’s murderous campaign, the President-elect has signaled to foreign leaders his disregard for both due process of law and human rights – and raised the possibility that he might one day treat U.S. law with the same contempt.”

Duterte has repeatedly shown complete disregard for due process or human rights. In his call for the murder of people who use or sell drugs, he promised medals for citizens who comply, and pardons for police if they are charged with human rights violations while carrying out the executions. These extrajudicial killings have largely claimed the lives of the country’s most marginalized and vulnerable citizens, including those who are unemployed or underemployed.

Despite international calls for Duterte to end the extrajudicial killings, he has refused to change direction, responding to anyone who has questioned his anti-drug strategy with insults, including President Obama, the Pope, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations. Last week, he also threatened to kill human rights defenders who attempt to intervene in his war on drugs.

The U.S. government had become more vocal in its opposition to the gross human rights violations associated with Duterte’s war on drugs. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a press briefing that “we’re very concerned—deeply concerned, I would say—about reports of extrajudicial killings of individuals suspected to have been involved in drug activity in the Philippines.” After impassioned statements by Senators Patrick Leahy and Benjamin Cardin about the gravity of the situation in the Philippines, the State Department vowed to redirect $9 million in aid away from Philippine counternarcotics training.

However, this opposition from the United States looks set to change if Trump pursues his dangerous support for Duterte’s drug war. An advisor to Trump’s transition team on security policy said that the president-elect would start a “clean slate” with Duterte “without being wedded to previous policy failures.”

Source: http://drugpolicy.org