As Donald Trump prepares to meet leaders at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila on November 12 and 13, Amnesty International is urging him to condemn President Duterte’s murderous “war on drugs,” and push him to investigate the unlawful killing of thousands around the country.
“President Trump has spoken about his ability to talk tough with foreign leaders, and this week’s ASEAN summit presents a renewed opportunity to raise the horrifying human rights abuses that the region is facing,” said Butch Olano, Amnesty International Philippines Director.
“When he comes face to face with President Duterte, he’ll be meeting a man whose policies are responsible for thousands of unlawful killings, including dozens of children and the extrajudicial execution of many others, which may constitute crimes against humanity.
“Trump must not keep ignoring the grave human rights situation in the Philippines. The U.S. President’s willingness to challenge the appalling record of President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ is a crucial test of his administration’s commitment to upholding and defending human rights.”
Since taking office in 2016, President Duterte and his administration have waged a lethal anti-drugs campaign that has resulted in widespread extrajudicial executions. Between July 1, 2016 and January 21, 2017 — more than 7,000 people were killed, an average of 34 per day — exceeding 1,000 people per month. As many as 12,000 people may now have been killed, since the start of the bloody anti-drugs campaign.
The Philippines National Police (“PNP”) has killed over 3,800 alleged drug offenders and has paid others to kill thousands more in what may amount to crimes against humanity. President Duterte has also threatened to kill human rights defenders, journalists and critics.
Amnesty International is calling on President Trump to demand that extrajudicial executions are halted, that all allegations of extrajudicial executions are investigated and that those responsible are brought to justice, including officers from the PNP. President Trump must also make clear that any future U.S. assistance will be linked to clear progress in reforming the PNP and ending impunity in the police.