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Death squad killings bared in new report

Human Rights Watch said on Saturday it was scheduled to come out with a new report on death squad killings in the country under the watch of President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday, May 21.

HRW’s 71-page report “documents how local government officials and police organized, equipped, and financed a death squad linked to hundreds of killings.”

It said  it found that “local and national authorities have failed to seriously investigate the vast majority of these killings.”

“President Benigno Aquino III has largely ignored extrajudicial killings by death squads and ‘riding in tandem’ killings, and has failed to condemn local anti-crime campaigns that promote the unauthorized use of force to rid city streets of ‘undesirables,’” HRW said in a statement.

The report was made through interviews with more than three dozen people, including surviving victims and their families, witnesses to killings, police officers, and former death squad members.

“The former death squad members described how those who refused to carry out orders, sought to quit, or otherwise fell into disfavor were themselves likely to become death squad victims.”

The group then urged the Aquino administration “to direct the responsible government agencies to take measures to thoroughly investigate death squad killings and the death squads themselves, and bring justice to the victims’ families.”

Phelim Kine, deputy director of HRW in Asia, will lead in the releasing of the new report.

 On its past reports, HRW, citing a resolution resulting from an investigation conducted by Commission on Human Rights, reported on the existence of “targeted and systematic killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad in Davao City, mostly of suspected criminals, many of them young men and teenagers.”

Meanwhile, another human rights group Karapatan, also released its first quarter of 2014 report on the number of victims of various violations of civil and political rights  under the administration of President Aquino  (July 2010 to March 2014).

On its Karapatan Monitor dated January to March 2014, published are the following cases: extrajudicial killings (192), enforced disappearance ( 21), torture (94), rape (3), frustrated extrajudicial killing (202), illegal arrest without detention (268), illegal arrest and detention (640), illegal search and seizure (257), physical assault and injury (379), demolition (14, 445), violation of domicile (468), destruction of property (12, 670), divestment of property (355), forced evacuation (39, 688), threats/harassment/intimidation (65, 103), indiscriminate firing (9, 506), forced/fake surrender (56), force labor/involuntary servitude( 172), used of civilians in police and/or military operations as guides and/or shield (534), use of schools/medical/religious and other public places for military purposes (134, 110), and restriction or violent dispersal of mass actions/public assemblies/and gatherings (9, 529).

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