GENEVA — The Philippines came under global pressure Monday over its deadly drug war, facing calls for action following an alleged wave of extrajudicial killings.
Diplomats from all continents raised concern over the surge in deaths during President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called anti-drug campaign, which has claimed thousands of lives since he took office last year.
The Philippines was facing its regular review at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, where each country’s record is scrutinized every four years.
Canada urged Manila to “end extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture and harassment,” with similar comments made by delegations from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and Ghana, among many others.
The United States said it was crucial for the Philippines to “investigate the allegations of the more than 7,000 deaths associated with the counter-narcotics campaign since July 2016, including over 2,600 killings by security forces and 4,000 by unknown assailants.”
US President Donald Trump has invited Duterte to the White House, outraging human rights groups, although the Filipino firebrand has said he may turn down the offer.
The council meeting began with Filipino Senator Alan Cayetano, a Duterte ally, denouncing what he called a campaign by rights advocates and the media to distort perceptions of the government’s actions.
“There is no new wave of killings in the Philippines,” Cayetano told the council.
He said the government’s enemies were using “a political tactic” of manipulating figures on extrajudicial killings to undermine the fight against a scourge that has poisoned Filipino society./AFP