- Title: U.S. lawmakers hear testimony on human rights abuses in the Philippines
- Date: 20th July 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JULY 20, 2017) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** SIDE OF LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION HEARING (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES MCGOVERN, CO-CHAIR OF LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SAYING: "The explosion of killings over the last year and the president's own statements inciting a justifying them is part of his promise to eradicate the drug problem. Have rightly drawn attention and indignation. For the United States these killings strain bilateral relations." PEOPLE LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES MCGOVERN, CO-CHAIR OF LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SAYING: "To to turn, you know the other cheek to look the other way to try to not make a big deal about the human rights abuses is to be complicit and I don't want this country to be complicit." WIDE OF PEOPLE IN HEARING ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (English) RANDY HULTGREN, CO-CHAIR OF LANTOS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SAYING: "The Philippines is a valid valuable ally to the United States and is the largest recipient of the United States' assistance in East Asia for these reasons is paramount that human rights violations are not an unintended consequence of the war on drugs. Human rights are fundamental. Every person is born with dignity, as such they should be afforded the protection and due process of the law." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ELLECER "BUDIT" CARLOS, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE SAYING: "The daily killings and the president's kill rhetoric both are having dire lasting effects have made human life cheap in the Philippines and it's dehumanizing everyone in Philippine society." (SOUNDBITE) (English) MATTHEW WELLS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ADVISOR SAYING: "Three things are clear: The killings continue, the police remain above the law and all of this is at minimum encouraged by the highest levels of the Philippine government." WOMAN LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHELIM KINE, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ASIA SAYING: "This is a critical moment for the Philippines in the sense that as my colleagues have mentioned, there are thousands, untold thousands of victims of this war with a quote unquote war on drugs with zero accountability by and from the government. And the second reason why it's a critical time is that right now, the Philippine government has launched an intensive propaganda effort to essentially deny the reality of this brutal slaughter by essentially issuing a big lie technique of a blizzard of contradictory and confusing statistics about what's going on in the Philippines." WIDE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES POSING FOR A PHOTOGRAPH WITH CONCERNED PHILIPPINE AMERICANS
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2017 20:25
- Keywords: Phillippines Rodrigo Duterte human rights drugs
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C. UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C. UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016QIX7WN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:U.S. lawmakers held a hearing on the human rights consequences of the war on drugs in the Philippines on Thursday (July 20). Human rights advocates told the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about the mounting death toll and abuses linked to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's government.
Almost 9,000 people, many small-time drug users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30, 2016. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence during legitimate anti-drug operations. Human rights monitors believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes - a charge the police deny.
Human rights officials told lawmakers of the hardships and brutality the Duterte government's policies are having on the people of the Philippines.
The Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers who are critical of Duterte's "war on drugs."
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