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[Media Lines] Philippines: ICC investigation on the Philippines’ ‘war on drugs’ paves the way towards accountability

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On the opening of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation on alleged ‘crimes against humanity’ in the Philippines, FORUM-ASIA Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said:

FORUM-ASIA welcomes the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision to open an investigation on the Philippines, and supports its efforts towards accountability for the crimes against humanity in the context of President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’.

The investigation signals to human rights violators, who continue to repress their people, that they cannot escape international accountability. It is a message of hope not just to civil society and victims in the Philippines, but to others in the region whose rights are systematically violated by their leaders.

FORUM-ASIA has continuously highlighted grave violations in the context of the government’s ‘war on drugs’ which include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and enforced disappearances. This campaign has expanded to include a consolidated crackdown against human rights defenders, journalists, activists and civil society, enabled by a President who has continued to incite violence against dissenters. The country’s domestic institutions have been compromised and remain incapable to provide justice to tens of thousands of victims.

The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision highlights the urgency of more robust action by the UN Human Rights Council, including mandating its own independent international investigation, to address ongoing serious violations and pervasive impunity for violations beyond the scope of the ICC investigation. Amidst overwhelming evidence and the continued attacks against democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, the Council must take steps to hold the Philippines, a member of the Council, accountable if it is to remain committed to its own values and standards.


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