EU urges PH to stop extrajudicial killings of drug suspects

THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) Parliament has called on the Philippine government to “put an end to the current wave of extrajudicial executions and killings” of drug suspects.

The EU Parliament has also directed the EU delegation in the Philippines and the embassies of 28 European countries here to monitor rights abuses following President Duterte’s declaration of a “state of national emergency on account of lawlessness” on Sept. 3.

READ: Duterte declares ‘state of lawlessness’

Duterte placed the entire Philippines under a state of national emergency after a bomb ripped through a night market in his hometown of Davao City late on Sept. 2, killing 15 people and injuring 67 others.

In a five-page resolution passed on Thursday, the EU lawmakers expressed concern over the extraordinarily high number of drug suspects killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines since Duterte launched a crackdown on the illegal drug trade upon taking office on June 30.

EU members include highly developed Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Sweden, Portugal and Finland.

More than 3,000 killed

More than 3,000 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines since  Duterte launched his brutal war on drugs.

Without directly blaming the government, EU lawmakers said they believed Duterte’s incendiary public statements encouraged mass murders involving drug traffickers and users.

“President Duterte repeatedly urged law enforcement agencies and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers who did not surrender, as well as drug users,” the EU lawmakers said.

“President Duterte publicly stated he would not pursue law enforcement officers and citizens who killed drug dealers who resisted arrest,” they said.

The EU Parliament adopted the resolution dealing with extrajudicial killings in the Philippines based on the Partnership Cooperation Agreement signed by the EU and the Philippines in 2014 to advance engagement on political, trade, security, environment and human rights issues.

The agreement commits the Philippines to uphold the rule of law, social democracy and human rights, as well as international human rights conventions.

The EU Parliament also said ending the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects was vital to the Philippines’ holding the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2017.

“President Duterte has announced that during the Philippines’ chairmanship, we (the government) will highlight Asean as a model of regionalism and a global player, with the interest of the people at its core,” the EU lawmakers said.

They also called on the Philippine Congress “to abstain from reintroducing the death penalty and from lowering the minimum age of criminal liability.”

The lawmakers said that based on “all empirical evidence, the death penalty does not reduce drug delinquency and would destroy a great achievement of the Philippine justice system.”

The EU Parliament directed the union’s delegation in the Philippines to provide wide assistance to the Philippine government to implement measures in line with its commitment to international human rights obligations.

The EU earlier condemned the attacks in Davao that Philippine authorities blamed on the Abu Sayyaf bandit group./rga