Over 3000 people suspected of using or selling drugs have been killed in direct police operations. In thousands of other ‘deaths under investigation’, some police officers have worked with paid killers to kill suspected drug offenders. The victims have overwhelmingly been from poor families who were often made even poorer by the death.
The government has also been trying to pass a bill to bring back the death penalty, even though the Philippines is signed up to an international treaty which says the death penalty must be abolished. There is still a risk the punishment could be re-introduced, if it’s approved by the Senate.
The President has threatened to kill and behead human rights defenders who criticise his policies, making the Philippines an even more dangerous place for human rights activists.
The government has even declared martial law in the province of Mindanao, which includes passing over police work to the military. But they still have a responsibility to protect people from violence and unlawful killing, and to respect human rights.
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