Duterte's war on drugs has killed at least 122 children

Two NGOs denounce the child deaths in war on drugs. Seven victims this year between January and March. A seven-year-old boy executed for witnessing the killing of a man at the hands of local authorities. The youngest was only 20 months old. The situation in the Philippines at the heart of the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 122 children have been killed in the bloody war on drugs campaign launched by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, some of them even "deliberately" killed.

This is the stark complaint filed yesterday by two NGOs in an appeal to the United Nations to take urgent action against Manila to protect children and people's rights.

Launched in 2016, in the early days of the presidency, the campaign against drug trafficking caused thousands of victims (up to 27 thousand extrajudicial killings according to some sources), in a widespread context of an arbitrary use of force against simple suspects.

The report, entitled How Could They Do This To My Child?”, was jointly published by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC, Philippines).

The investigation revealed 122 cases of minors from one to 17 years of age killed between July 2016 and December 2019. At least six cases of particular seriousness, including the story of a seven-year-old child executed for having seen local authorities kill a man. "The 122 are just the tip of the iceberg - underlines the Omct general secretary Gerald Staberock - and there are many others in the country".

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

In July last year, the prelates welcomed the United Nations decision to launch an investigation into the thousands of deaths. The auxiliary archbishop of Manila, Msgr. Broderick Pabillo, said the investigation will help put an end to extrajudicial killings and ensure justice for the victims and their families.

The human rights issue in the Philippines will be investigated during the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which opens today in Geneva. During the session, a report prepared by the High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet will also be presented, followed by an in-depth analysis of the steps to be taken to deal with the emergency. The report shows that the war on drugs has created a widespread and systematic context of killings, in total impunity for the authors.

The youngest victim of this war wanted by Duterte was only 20 months old; Seven children were killed between January and March of this year, many more were arrested and are still in prison.