06/20/2019, 17.51
PHILIPPINES
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Official death toll from war on drugs reaches 6,600

Duterte admits the situation is out of control. Some 1,600 died between January and May, including 49 police officers. Another 144 were wounded. For Colonel. Banac, deaths were “due to suspects putting up armed resistance to operatives.”

Manila (AsiaNews) - The latest data from the Philippines National Police (PNP) show that over 6,600 people died in war on drug launched by Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte, 1,600 people in the last six months alone, PNP spokesman Colonel Bernard Banac said yesterday.

At a rally in Malabon City on 2 April, Duterte acknowledged that despite his repressive measures, drug use has increased in the country. On 12 June, in Cagayan De Oro City, the president admitted that the poor have been the most affected by the crackdown.

In light of the situation, human rights groups have called for a broad investigation into the government’s anti-drug policy. In their view, the policy is responsible for the death of as many as 30,000 people, including those killed by vigilantes.

After winning the presidency in July 2016, President Duterte launched an unprecedented war on drugs, with a pledge to kill tens of thousands of criminals.

On 27 November 2018, the Philippine Anti-Drug Agency (PDEA) – which operates under the direct supervision of the President’s Office – published a report certifying the death of 4,999 people were killed in drug-related circumstances.

Colonel Banac said yesterday that "at least" 1,600 people died between January and May. “The increase was due to suspects putting up armed resistance to operatives,” he explained, adding that among the casualties were 49 police officers with another 144 wounded.

The Catholic Church is among the few voices to denounce Duterte's violent war on drugs. In response to its criticism of extrajudicial killings, Duterte repeatedly launched harsh attacks against bishops and priests.

Meanwhile, more and more people are calling for a full investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In March 2018, the Government of the Philippines officially announced its decision to abandon the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the ICC.

The international crimes tribunal, which is based in The Hague (Netherlands), had started a preliminary investigation earlier this month into allegations of crimes against humanity in connection with Manila’s anti-drug operations.

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