DAVAO CITY, Philippines—– A New York-based human rights organization said Tuesday that the United Nations should conduct an international investigation that would look into the killings in the Philippines amid announcement by the government to suspend its anti-illegal drug campaign.
Yesterday, Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald dela Rosa announced the suspension of its anti-illegal drug campaign “Oplan Tokhang” to purge scalawags policemen in their ranks following the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo by the police.
“Suspending police anti-drug operations could reduce the killings, but they won’t stop without a meaningful investigation into the 7,000 deaths already reported,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch said.
HRW pointed out that the killing of the South Korean businessman “suggests that police officers are exploiting the ‘drug war’ for corrupt personnel gain.”
“The Philippine police won’t seriously investigate themselves, so the UN should take the lead in conducting an investigation,” he added.
HRW feared that the unabated killings and abuses will continue as the president announced that the government’s war on drugs will continue until the end of his term.
“The Philippine National Police (PNP) have failed to investigate or prosecute any personnel responsible for those death despite compelling evidence that some police units are summarily gunning down suspects,” the group pointed out.
In the past seven months, a total of 2, 551 suspected drug users and dealers were killed, according to the PNP. Police have attributed those killings to suspects who “resisted arrest and shot at police officers,” HRW, however, noted that the PNP “have not provided further evidence that police acted in self-defense.”
With this, HRW said the Philippine government has effectively undermined prior United Nations efforts to investigate the “drug war” killings.
“Unless there is an independent international investigation into these killings, and soon, the already long list of grave rights violations linked to the ‘drug war’ will only continue to grow,” Kine said. (davaotoday.com)