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Philippines drug-related killings alarm EU

MANILA, Philippines — The European Union has expressed concern over the killings related to President Duterte’s war against drugs as it included the Philippines in its list of countries with human rights situations that require the attention of the UN Human Rights Council.

At the 36th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Sept. 19, the EU said that it “remains deeply concerned about the high number of killings” in the Philippines.

While it acknowledged that the fight against drugs in the Philippines is an important priority for the government, the EU emphasized the “importance of carrying out the fight against illegal drugs in full compliance with due process, national law and international human rights law.”

“It is important that all cases of death should be promptly and effectively investigated in an impartial and transparent manner, which ensures appropriate prosecution of those responsible,” the EU said in its statement titled “Item 4: Human Rights Situations that require the Council’s attention.”

“We further call on the Philippines to respect its obligations under international law and not to adopt a bill reintroducing the death penalty,” the EU added.

The Philippines was earlier included among countries with “darker and more dangerous” human rights situation by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

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“In the Philippines, I continue to be gravely concerned by the President’s open support for a shoot-to-kill policy regarding suspects, as well as by the apparent absence of credible investigations into reports of thousands of extrajudicial killings, and the failure to prosecute any perpetrator,” Zeid said in his report titled “Darker and more dangerous: High Commissioner updates the Human Rights Council on human rights issues in 40 countries.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will raise the government’s war on drugs and campaign against criminality during his address to the UN on Saturday. 

Cayetano is representing Duterte in the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, the annual event that brings together leaders from all over the world. 

CHR budget

Meanwhile, both Malacañang and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomed the decision of the House of Representatives to restore its P678-million budget for next year. 

“We are grateful to those who stood firm in championing human rights inside and out the halls of Congress as CHR affirms its commitment to advance human rights for all people,” CHR chairman Chito Gascon said. – With Alexis Romero, Janvic Mateo, Marvin Sy, Jess Diaz

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