Condemning the high number of extrajudicial killings by security forces and vigilante groups, the European Parliament urged the Philippines to put an immediate end to the killings in the pretext of the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.
Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo, File
EU lawmakers call on Philippine gov’t to end EJKs, drop terror tag vs rights defenders
Gaea Katreena Cabico (philstar.com) - April 20, 2018 - 10:16am

MANILA, Philippines — The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Philippine government to put an end to the brutal war on drugs that has killed thousands and remove human rights defenders included in the government petition seeking to declare more than 600 individuals as terrorists. 

Members of the European Parliament passed the resolution Thursday evening (Manila time) by a “large majority,” the Party of European Socialists said in a statement.

Condemning the high number of extrajudicial killings by security forces and vigilante groups, the European Parliament urged the Philippines to put an immediate end to the killings in the pretext of the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.

It stressed that the government must prioritize eliminating drug trafficking networks and big drug barons over tracking down small-scale consumers and must focus on a public health approach to combat the illicit drug problem.

The parliament said it “calls on the authorities of the Philippines to immediately carry out impartial and meaningful investigations into these extrajudicial killings and to prosecute and bring all perpetrators to justice.”

Individuals and organizations both at home and abroad have criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his ferocious “war on drugs,” which has claimed over 12,000 lives, according to human rights watchdogs.

The government, however, dispute these numbers and counts a little over 4,000 “drug personalities” killed in police operations.

The same resolution reiterated the parliament’s call to release Sen. Leila De Lima, who has been detained for more than a year over drug-related charges.

It also urged the Philippine government to remove human rights defenders, including United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, from the terrorist list the Justice department filed in February and allow the entry of persons perceived as critics of President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies.

It warned that should there be no “substantive improvement,” the European Commission and the External Action Service should “to initiate the procedural steps which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of the GSP+ preferences.”

GSP+ or the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus program allows the Philippines to export more than 6,200 eligible products duty-free to the EU market. Last January, the country retained its GSP+ status under the EU.

The European Parliament had issued similar calls before. In September 2016, it urged the Philippine government to stop the drug war killings and investigate them. The parliament in March 2017 called for the immediate release of de Lima.

READEU expresses concern over drug war killings anew

Red line

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday slammed the resolution of the European lawmakers, calling it an interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.

“The European Parliament has crossed a red line when it called for unwarranted actions against the Philippines,” he said.

Cayetano claimed that the resolution is based on “biased, incomplete and even wrong information and does not reflect the true situation on the ground.”

“It is really disappointing that European lawmakers have allowed themselves to be influenced and manipulated by certain interest groups in the Philippines and abroad who have politicized and weaponized human rights as part of their efforts to undermine the legitimately installed government of President Duterte,” he said.

The European Union has been repeatedly slammed by Duterte for supposedly meddling with the country’s affairs. 

EU-PHILIPPINES TIES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RODRIGO DUTERTE WAR ON DRUGS
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