The United States on Tuesday expressed concern over the spate of extrajudicial killings and detentions in the Philippines, which under President Rodrigo Duterte has undertaken a crackdown on drugs and criminality.
Elizabeth Trudeau, director of the United States Department of State’s press office, said Washington urges the Philippines to follow legal and human rights principles in its efforts against illegal drugs.
“We are concerned by these detentions, as well as the extrajudicial killing of individuals suspected to be involved in drug activity in the Philippines,” Trudeau said at a press briefing in Washington, a transcript of which was released by the State Department on Tuesday (Manila time).
“We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts comply with its human rights obligations,” she added.
The statement came two weeks after the state visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with the Philippines’ newly elected president in Manila. Duterte revealed that he stopped Kerry from talking about human rights during their meeting at Malacañan.
The death squads believed to be behind some of the killings have been called a “murderous plague” by the Human Rights Watch. Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who leads Catholic bishops in the Philippines, also condemned the killings as “too much to swallow.”
The United Nations’ human rights body and anti-drugs office similarly urged the government not to condone the violent deaths.
Source and image: Philstar