United Nations (UN) human rights has warn President Rodrigo Duterte that “state actors” could be held responsible over hundreds of extrajudicial killings in a controversial anti-drug crackdown in the Philippines.
“Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings,” the U.N. Special Rapporteur on summary executions.
The UN experts urged Philippine president “to put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings.”
“Incentives to violence such as bounties or the promise of impunity also seriously contravene the rule of law and must end,” the statement read, with reference to Duterte’s “dead or alive” directive against drug pushers and users.
The warning came a day after Duterte called the U.N. “stupid” and vowed to continue his anti-narcotics offensive despite mounting criticism, including from U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.
In a press release by UN Human Rights’ Office of the High Commissioner, it noted that 850 people have already been killed since Duterte won the presidency last May. According to reports, 650 were killed in the last six weeks alone.
However, Philippine National Police itself in the Senate hearing Thursday said the death toll in Duterte’s “drug war” has reached above 1,500, with 889 executed by vigilante groups.