Odron: Human rights, right to life are interdependent rights

By: Jessa Mae O. Sotto and Rosalie Abatayo July 25,2018 - 10:32 PM

THE Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) expressed concern over President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the campaign against illegal drugs will be “relentless and chilling.”

CHR-7 Director, lawyer Arvin Odron said they were alarmed that the Duterte administration has chosen to ignore the call for law enforcers to observe due process of law and observe human rights as they wage the war against drugs.

“We are apprehensive of the government’s ‘relentless and chilling’ anti-illegal drugs campaign as it entails loss of more lives without due process of law. I mean, the victims will be deprived of their natural right to life without having an opportunity to be heard by a competent authority,” Odron said in a statement on Wednesday.

The President, during his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Monday, declared that his administration’s fight against illegal drugs was far from over.

“This is why the war on illegal drugs will not be sidelined. Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began,” Duterte said.

“Where before, the war resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs worth millions of pesos. Today, they run [into] billions in peso value. I can only shudder at the harm that those drugs could have caused had they reached the streets of every province, city, municipality, barangay and community throughout the country,” he added.

Mr. Duterte, in the same Sona, slammed human rights advocates for continuously criticizing his campaign.

“Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives,” he said, pointing to the lives of the youth being destroyed by illegal drug use.

“You worry about the present; I am concerned about both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term,” said the President.

But for Odron, the President failed to appreciate that human rights and the right to life are “interdependent natural rights.”

“The President failed to appreciate that human rights and the right to life are not exclusive of each other but rather both exist as interdependent natural rights and complement each other,” he said.

When the CHR advocates for the respect and protection of human rights, it includes a call from the government to likewise respect and protect the inherent right of all the people to life without distinction, he added.

More EJKs?

Odron said he was alarmed that the President’s pronouncement would translate into more extrajudicial killings in the already bloody war against illegal drugs.

While he recognized that the government only intended to eradicate criminalities brought about by the use of illegal drugs, the same government should not forget that the use of lethal force in law enforcement should only be the last resort, not the norm.

“However good and praiseworthy the intention of the government, if it does not conform and comply with the dictates of the Constitution and the law, the problem will persist,” Odron said.
Odron instead reiterated the CHR’s call for law enforcers to follow the correct procedure in illegal drug operations.

“We all know that the State has all the powers, but we demand that the powers be exercised in accordance with the limitations set by law, hence, we continuously advocate on respect for human rights and faithful observance of the rule of law,” Odron said.

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TAGS: human, interdependent, life, Odron, right, rights

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