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UN body: Poor ‘disproportionately affected’ by war on drugs

PH GOV’T URGED TO RECONSIDER CRIMINALIZATION OF DRUG USERS
/ 03:52 PM October 12, 2016

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has urged the Philippine government to take necessary measures to ensure that its relentless war on drugs does not discriminate the poor and marginalized.

In its recent report, the UN panel expressed concern that poor neighborhood and individuals “have been disproportionately affected” in the Duterte administration’s antinarcotics campaign.

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READ: UN council to assess PH’s implementation of rights

“The Committee is deeply concerned that declarations made by high ranking officials in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ may be seen to encourage and legitimize violence against drug users, including extrajudicial killings. Indeed, the number of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects has drastically increased in recent months and a large number of people have been arrested and detained in already overcrowded prisons,” the report read.

“The Committee urges the State to stop and prevent extrajudicial killings and any form of violence against drug users; to promptly and thoroughly investigate all reported cases and punish the perpetrators with sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the crime; and to take all necessary measures to ensure that the fight against drug trafficking does not have a discriminatory impact on the poor and marginalized,” it added.

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The UN body also called on the government to reconsider the criminalization of drug dependents, saying that it hindered them from receiving treatment and rehabilitation from “treatment centers that incorporates evidence-based health services, such as opioid substitution therapies.”

The committee said the Philippine government should instead adopt a “right-to-health approach to drug abuse with harm reduction strategies, such as syringe exchange programs; and increase the availability of treatment services that are evidence-based and respectful of the rights of drug users.”

In a series of expletive-laced remarks, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly lambasted the UN, the United States and the European Union for calling him out over alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses in his bloody war on drugs.

Malacañang on Wednesday said it had sent a formal invitation to UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard to investigate drug-related deaths in the country. RAM

READ: Invitation sent to UN to probe drug killings — Palace

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TAGS: extrajudicial killings, Illegal Drugs, poor, UN, United Nations
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