- Title: Filipino activists protest drug war killings under Duterte
- Date: 10th December 2016
- Summary: ACTIVISTS HOLDING FLAGS AND GATHERING IN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE SQUARE
- Embargoed: 25th December 2016 08:31
- Keywords: Philippines protest drugs drug war killings president Rodrigo Duterte
- Location: MANILA, PHILIPPINES
- City: MANILA, PHILIPPINES
- Country: Philippines
- Reuters ID: LVA0025CAVF45
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Filipino activists held a rally outside the Philippine presidential palace in Manila on International Human Rights Day to protest the spate of killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody crackdown on drugs.
Police say 2,004 people have been killed by officers in self-defence during anti-drug operations since the president took office on July 1. Another 3,060 killings have been classified as "under investigation".
Human rights activists on Saturday (December 10) used mock corpses wrapped in packaging tape and tied with a placard reading "Don't be like me" to imitate how unknown assailants gun down suspected drug users and to protest the lack of due process under Duterte's anti-drug campaign.
Wilnor Papa, Amnesty International's programme coordinator in the Philippines, said the number of deaths in the war on drugs has become worrying.
"One victim is one victim too many. If you see victims dying at the rate of two digits a day, that is not just a cause for concern. That is appalling. That is frustrating. That is actually very, very dangerous. It just tells the whole world that the right to due process, the right to the rule of law is not respected in this country and that is very concerning. It should not only concern us, it should also concern the government itself," he said.
Duterte swept to power in May, promising to wipe out crime and drugs in the country within three to six months. The former mayor from southern Philippines said he would continue his bloody crackdown until 2017 and vowed to continue killing drug addicts to "save the next generation from perdition."
Duterte enjoys a high popularity rating in the Philippines with the majority of Filipinos approving of his overall anti-drugs campaign and rhetoric. However, many said they wished the drug offenders were caught alive, according to a survey by Social Weather Stations, an independent polling station.
Human rights group iDefend's spokesperson Eleazor Carlos said if Duterte really wants to stop drug addiction in the Philippines, he must address the poverty which supposedly pushes them to use narcotics.
"If poverty is eradicated, if Duterte uses his political will for that, crime in the Philippines will gradually diminish. Remember, the most impoverished countries also have the highest crime rates and drug dependency rates. So livelihood, and not killings, is the solution," he said.
Human Rights Day commemorates the day the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948.
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