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islander

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“IF YOU ARE POOR, YOU ARE KILLED”... (Executive Summary)
« on: February 04, 2017, 09:34:45 PM »


AMNESTY
INTERNATIONAL

“IF YOU ARE POOR, YOU ARE KILLED”
EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES’ “WAR ON DRUGS”



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


***“I was in favour of [Duterte’s] slogan ‘Change’. All Filipinos want change. But no Filipino wants dead bodies all over the streets, and for the police killing people to become the norm.” Woman whose husband was unlawfully killed in a police operation

 
President Rodrigo Duterte has made no secret of how he views people linked to drugs or crime; for him, they are less than human and deserving of death. Since taking office in the Philippines on 30 June 2016, his administration’s “war on drugs”[1] has borne that out to a devastating degree. Statistics from the Philippine National Police indicate that police officers and unknown armed persons[2] collectively carried out 7,025 drug-related killings between 1 July 2016 and 21 January 2017, roughly an average of 34 per day.

In the poorest neighbourhoods of the Philippines, police officers on operation and unknown armed persons on motorcycles regularly target people with an alleged connection to drugs. Family members visit morgues to identify their loved one amongst the many other bodies that arrive each night riddled with bullet holes. The sight of bodies on the street has become commonplace; the fear of being or knowing the next victim, pervasive. Despite repeated denunciations by activists within the Philippines and by foreign governments, the relentless incitement and killings both continue unabated. 

This report examines the human rights violations associated with President Duterte’s violent campaign against drugs. It is based primarily on field research carried out in the Philippines in November and December 2016, during which Amnesty International delegates interviewed 110 people, including direct witnesses to extrajudicial executions; relatives of those killed; people who currently use drugs; police officers and paid killers involved in anti-drug operations; local authorities; and civil society activists.

Amnesty International investigated 33 incidents of drug-related killings in 20 different cities and towns, spread primarily across the National Capital Region as well as the provinces of Cebu and Cotabato. In the 33 incidents, of which 20 involved police operations and 13 involved unknown armed persons, 59 total people were killed. Based on corroborating witness statements and other credible information, the vast majority of these killings appear to have been extrajudicial executions—that is, unlawful and deliberate killings carried out by government order or with its complicity or acquiescence. 

In killings carried out during formal operations, police reports are startlingly similar from case to case. Amnesty International reviewed police incident reports for 12 of the 33 cases it documented, and, in 30 cases, examined media reports that included a police account. Whether during a raid on a suspect’s home

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1 Throughout the report, Amnesty International uses quotation marks around “war on drugs,” a term commonly used to describe the Duterte administration’s policies and operations against alleged drug offenders. These operations do not fit the definition of an armed conflict under international law. 
2 In the Philippines, the commonly used term is “unknown gunmen.” Amnesty International uses a gender neutral term throughout the report, as women are likewise perpetrators of drug-related killings.


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Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


islander

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Re: “IF YOU ARE POOR, YOU ARE KILLED”... (Executive Summary)
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2017, 09:55:07 PM »

or during a “buy-bust” operation in which undercover police officers purchase drugs to effect an arrest, the police near-universally claim that the suspect pulled a gun and shot at them, which, the police say, forces them to return fire and kill the person. In several cases Amnesty International reviewed, the police even alleged the suspect’s gun “malfunctioned” when trying to shoot them. As of 21 January 2017, these purported “shootouts” have led to the death of 2,500 alleged drug offenders and 35 police officers.

Direct witness testimony and independent investigations present a far different—and, based on Amnesty International’s field research, far more credible—account of what happens during many drug-related police operations. Police officers routinely bust down doors in the middle of the night and then kill in cold blood unarmed people suspected of using or selling drugs. In several cases documented by Amnesty International, witnesses described alleged drug offenders yelling they would surrender, at times while on their knees or in another compliant position. They were still gunned down. To cover their tracks, police officers appear often to plant “evidence” and falsify incident reports. 

The Duterte administration’s relentless pressure on the police to deliver results in anti-drug operations has helped encourage these abusive practices. Worse, there appear to be financial incentives. A police officer with more than a decade of experience on the force, and who currently conducts operations as part of an anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila, told Amnesty International that there are significant under-the-table payments for “encounters” in which alleged drug offenders are killed. He also said a racket between the police and some funeral homes leads to payments for each body brought in.

In addition to killings during police operations, there have been more than 4,100 drug-related killings by unknown armed persons. Amnesty International found strong evidence of links between state authorities and some armed persons who carry out drug-related killings. The police officer said officers sometimes disguise themselves as unknown armed persons, particularly when the target is someone whose family might bring a complaint or whose death might lead to greater suspicion; he mentioned female targets in particular. Two individuals paid to kill alleged drug offenders told Amnesty International that their boss is an active duty police officer; they reported receiving around 10,000 pesos (US $201) per killing.[3] They said that before President Duterte took office, they had around two “jobs” a month. Now, they have three to four a week. 

Victims of drug-related killings tend to have two things in common. First, they were overwhelmingly from the urban poor. Many were unemployed and lived in informal settlements or squatter communities. The killings mean further misery for already impoverished families, at times compounded by police officers stealing from them during crime scene investigations. A woman whose husband was killed said the police took goods she sold on commission, money she set aside for the electric bill, and even new shoes she bought for her child.

Second, in most cases documented by Amnesty International, there is a link to a “drug watch list” prepared by local government officials and shared with the police. Both the concept of the “watch list” itself and the way they are put together are deeply problematic. Inclusion is at times based on hearsay and community rumour or rivalry, with little to no verification. Lists are not comprised solely of persons reasonably suspected of crimes—for instance, past drug use, no matter how distant, is often sufficient. And being friends with or even neighbours of someone on a “watch list” can in practice be a death sentence. Amnesty International documented several cases in which bystanders or other people not on a “watch list” were killed, because they found themselves with or near alleged drug offenders. One victim was an 8-year-old boy. All extrajudicial executions, irrespective of who the victim is, are unlawful. 

The drug-related killings represent a flagrant violation of international human rights law that is legally binding on the Philippines. At their forefront is the non-derogable human right to life, which extrajudicial executions violate. Other human rights, including the right to due process, the right to health, prisoners’ right to humane treatment and the rights of victims’ family members have also been violated. 

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the deliberate and widespread killings of alleged drug offenders, which appear to be systematic, planned and organised by the authorities, may constitute crimes against humanity. 

In response, Philippine authorities, while claiming to investigate such killings, have failed to prosecute those responsible. No member of the police has faced criminal charges for a drug-related killing since Duterte took office. A relative of a man killed during an alleged “buy-bust” operation told Amnesty International that investigators from the National Bureau of Investigation discouraged her from pursuing a case, telling her that doing so would be “futile.” When families do fight against all odds and pursue a complaint, they are often profoundly afraid of police reprisal; several described instances of intimidation. As the state has failed in its

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3 Throughout the report, conversions from Philippine pesos to US dollars reflect the rate from 25 January 2017.

PAGE 7 
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

islander

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Re: “IF YOU ARE POOR, YOU ARE KILLED”... (Executive Summary)
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2017, 10:08:52 PM »

responsibility to investigate promptly, impartially and efficiently, the Commission on Human Rights and civil society organisations are trying to fill the gap, but, in addition to intimidation, confront a scarcity of resources and a system built to block progress. 

While the killings have generated headlines, the government’s violent anti-drug campaign has also undermined many people’s right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. “Surrender” programmes claim to be “voluntary,” but many people who use drugs say they see their choice as between surrendering or being killed. Once they surrender, they find themselves in programmes that are poorly funded and not comprehensive or evidence-based in what they offer. In many instances, community drug rehabilitation consists of Zumba fitness classes, listening to occasional lectures on drugs’ harm, and submitting oneself to perpetual surveillance. Any slip-up in using drugs can invite a police operation, with deadly consequences. On the national scale, the government has started building “mega” rehabilitation facilities inside military bases, raising additional human rights concerns. 

As the government has largely ignored a public health approach in favour of a law enforcement approach to drug use, many people who use drugs have become terrified of accessing health services that might link them to drugs. Harm reduction programmes like needle exchange have also ceased, lest they invite a government crackdown on non-governmental organisations and health providers. In places like Cebu City, people who inject drugs fear a police response if they seek out HIV testing or treatment, and now struggle to find or pay for clean needles. State authorities are therefore directly restricting the health options of people living with HIV and hepatitis C, significantly increasing the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases.

The Philippine government needs to urgently adopt a different approach to drugs and criminality, one which promotes, respects and fulfils the human rights of all concerned. Police and judicial authorities should ensure accountability for any unlawful killing by police officers or unknown armed persons, promptly, impartially and efficiently investigating allegations and prosecuting those involved. The impunity that currently reigns has facilitated killing on a massive scale, hitting the poorest and most marginalized segments of the population in particular.

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note: pagination is as it appears in the whole report, of which the executive summary is a part

for the whole report, here's the link: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa35/5517/2017/en/
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment

islander

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Re: “IF YOU ARE POOR, YOU ARE KILLED”... (Executive Summary)
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2017, 10:16:42 PM »
Quote
The drug-related killings represent a flagrant violation of international human rights law that is legally binding on the Philippines. At their forefront is the non-derogable human right to life, which extrajudicial executions violate. Other human rights, including the right to due process, the right to health, prisoners’ right to humane treatment and the rights of victims’ family members have also been violated.

nothing is clearer than this. 
Republic Act 8485 (Animal Welfare Act of 1998, Philippines), as amended and strengthened by House  Bill 6893 of 2013--- violation means a maximum of P250,000 fine with a corresponding three-year jail term and a minimum of P30,000 fine and six months imprisonment


 

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