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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Human Rights Consequences of the War on Drugs in the Philippines

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 10:00am
2200 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the human rights consequences of the ‘war on drugs’ currently underway in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte was elected in May 2016 with 38.5% of the vote after campaigning on economically populist policies and a promise to eradicate the drug problem in the Philippines -- to kill “drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings … and dump all of [them] into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there.” Although extrajudicial killings have been a major human rights concern for some time, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, the Department of State recognized that such killings increased sharply over the last year. According to Philippine National Police (PNP) statistics, 7,025 drug-related killings were carried out between July 1, 2016, when Duterte assumed office, and January 21, 2017 – an average of 34 per day.

The Philippines is a U.S. treaty ally, and the largest recipient of U.S. assistance in East Asia.  U.S. assistance to the Philippines includes both counterterrorism and counternarcotics support to the PNP. Duterte’s “antidrug” campaign and reports of extrajudicial killings raise questions about how the United States should balance its concerns for protecting human rights and the rule of law with its desire to maintain the bilateral alliance and continue to pursue other shared goals.

Witnesses will analyze the implementation of the ‘war on drugs’ and its consequences for the human rights situation in the Philippines. They will also provide policy recommendations for ensuring accountability for human rights violations and for addressing the problems of drug abuse and trafficking in ways consistent with promoting public health and strengthening rule of law.

This hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website, For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or (for Mr. McGovern) or Jamie Staley at 202-226-1516 or (for Mr. Hultgren). 

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Opening Remarks



Submitted for the Record




115th Congress