The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) welcomed the recent announcement by Justice Secretary Jesus Remulla that UN Special Rapporteur Morris Tidball-Binz, a forensic doctor, will visit the Philippines next year.
“As Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, Tidball-Binz’s visit would be an important next step in the process of seeking justice for the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings,” said ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy in a statement.
Rights groups and media organizations have reported that “thousands of extrajudicial and arbitrary killings” took place under the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
The groups said majority of the incidents of killings “took place in the government’s ‘war on drugs,’ which mobilized police officers and vigilante groups to kill as many as 30,000 suspected drug dealers or drug users.”
The Philippine National Police has admitted to over 6,600 such killings. At least 25 police officers have already been charged so far in relation to the “war on drugs.”
“Given this recent announcement, we reiterate our call to the Marcos administration for open, transparent, and thorough investigation of these crimes, and justice for all victims and their families,” said Murphy.
“This means investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators of such crimes, and an end to the state of impunity which has allowed so many members of the police force to avoid prosecution so far,” he added.
The ICHRP also echoed the call of at least ten Human Rights Council member states to the Philippine government to re-join the International Criminal Court and cooperate with the ICC’s ongoing investigation into the crime against humanity of murder during the so-called “war on drugs.”