President Rodrido Duterte’s suggestion that drug suspects who are behind bars are safe from summary execution is “perilously wrong,” Human Rights Watch deputy director Phelim Kine said Wednesday.
Kine was reacting to Duterte’s recent speech in Cebu where he warned those detained drug suspects should rather stay in jail or they would get killed outside.
“Duterte’s spin doctors may try to deflect criticism about this latest threat by asserting that he was ‘joking.’ But these kinds of comments send a clear message to police officers and other security force members that certain kinds of crimes not only can be committed with impunity but might even draw praise from the President,” Kine lamented.
Kine also called on the International Criminal Court and the United Nation to conduct a separate international inquiry against Duterte’s latest threat.
“They should also send a message to the International Criminal Court of the dire need for a preliminary examination into the killings and to the UN for a separate international inquiry,” Kine urged.
Duterte issued a televised death threat against detained drug suspects in Cebu province last week.
“You know if I were you guys in Cebu, stay in jail. You want to live longer? Stay in jail,” Duterte said.
“Do not go out of that facility. It would not be healthy for you,” the President added.
Kine warned that the targets of Duterte’s threat have good reason to be afraid.
He cited a brutal lesson of the anti-drug campaign that Duterte launched on June 30, 2016 where “people he threatens with summary execution often end up dead” in suspicious police buy-bust operations, or at the hands of unidentified gunmen.
“That campaign has targeted mainly urban slum dwellers and resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 suspected drug dealers and users, including children, by police and police-backed vigilantes,” Kine said.