The Human Rights Consequences of the War on Drugs in the Philippines
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, https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/news/watch-live. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or Kimberly.Stanton@mail.house.gov (for Mr. McGovern) or Jamie Staley at 202-226-1516 or Jamie.Staley@mail.house.gov (for Mr. Hultgren).
Ellecer Carlos, Spokesperson, iDEFEND, The Philippines
Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor, Amnesty International
Phelim Kine, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
Submitted for the Record
Statement from Efren C. Morillo
Letter from the Embassy of the Philippines in the Washington, DC
"The Real Numbers," Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines
Philippine Senate Bill No. 1313
Lancet Commissions, "Public Health and International Drug Policy," March 2016
UNODC and WHO, "Principles of Drug Dependence," March 2008
Various UN Agencies, "Joint Statement on Compulsory Drug Detention and Rehabilitation Centers," March 2012
Statement from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, CADCA
Statement from the Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines, EANP
Statement from Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown, The Brookings Institute
Statement from the CA-NV Philippine Solidarity Task Force
Statement from Katarungan