CHR raises alarm over drug boxes
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Human Rights has expressed concern over the use of anonymous drug boxes in some communities to collect the names of drug users and pushers.

In a statement, the commission said such initiatives could violate the rights of citizens as it could be used for harassment or lead to mistaken arrests.

“The CHR supports the government’s campaign in combating the possible dangers brought about by the use, sale, production and distribution of illegal drugs in the country,” it read.

“The information collected through the ‘drop boxes’ – while serving as tips or leads to the police – may expose an individual to mistaken arrest if the information is not verified and court processes are not involved,” the statement added.

The CHR also mentioned the use of “drug-free home” in the campaign against illegal drugs, explaining that residents of a house with no drug-free sticker may be unduly discriminated or tagged as drug-users or pushers “without due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution.”

“This also violates the right of any person to be heard before he/she is condemned. A person’s honor, as well as the reputation of his/her family, would also be harmed,” it said.

While the commission recognizes any community-based program that helps the government in its campaign against crime and illegal drugs, it also stressed that “authorities must ensure that these measures are not in any way violative of the Constitution and other human rights standards.”

“The commission continues to be watchful of the measures and procedures that are implemented. The commission is also hopeful that the government will continue to re-examine its anti-drug campaign and adopt a strategic and comprehensive but human rights-based approach,” added CHR.

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