Philippines invites UN rapporteur to probe drug-related killings

Manila, Oct 12 (IANS) The Philippines has sent an invitation to United Nations rapporteur Agnes Callamard to probe the increasing number of drug-related killings in the country, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

“Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the palace has sent the invitation to Callamard and is awaiting her response,” Xinhua news agency quoted Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella as saying.

In the invitation, Abella said the “palace also urged — and I think it is notable — the UN rapporteur to include in her investigation the killing of law enforcers by drug suspects so she could obtain accurate perspective of the drug problem in the country”.

He said the Philippine government is urging Callamard to also look into the killings of law enforcers, who were also killed in the campaign to eradicate illicit drugs.

News reports said more than 3,000 suspects had been killed, some extra-judicially, in the fight against drugs since President Rodrigo Duterte took the presidency on June 30 this year.

Duterte said there are at least four million Filipinos who are into drugs. He warned that if not eradicated, the Philippines will continue to be governed by narco-politicians.

The Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives have conducted investigations into the drug menace.

The UN, the US, European Union and other international human rights groups have criticised the Duterte administration for carrying out a bloody anti-drug campaign, prompting the President to lash at them.

Despite the intense criticisms, Duterte has vowed to continue his anti-drug campaign.

As of October 10, the Philippine National Police said a total of 1,550 suspected drug users and pushers have been killed since July 1.

On the other hand, the police said at least 13 policemen and three soldiers were killed.

The police also said that close to 800,000 drugs suspects have “surrendered” since the campaign was launched.

–IANS

py/vt

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