• Press Release

Philippines: Duterte’s human rights smears are a classic diversionary tactic

July 23, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his state of the nation address at Congress in Manila on July 23, 2018. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte today attacked critics of his deadly ‘war on drugs,’ telling human rights activists: “your concern is human rights, mine is human lives” and promising the continuation of a “relentless and chilling” campaign. In response, Rachel Chhoa Howard, Amnesty International’s Philippines Researcher, said:

“Thousands of people in the Philippines have died as a direct result of President Duterte’s murderous policies, which have mostly targeted the country’s poorest people. Duterte’s claim to be a defender of human life is an insult to the families of these victims, especially coming after his public vow to continue the killings.

“While human rights groups have decried the thousands of extrajudicial executions carried out in the guise of an anti-drugs campaign, President Duterte has bragged about the slaughter and actively incited more violence.

“Smearing human rights groups is a classic diversionary tactic of rights abusers the world over. Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency has been characterized by bravado, bloodshed and threats against his critics – sadly, as he enters his third year in power, the Filipino people look to be facing more of the same.”