No discussions of human rights at Asean meeting on drug menace – Barbers
Parliamentarians of the Asean member states did not tackle the alleged human rights violations in the campaign against the drug menace.
Surigao Del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who chairs the 13th meeting of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (Aipa) Fact Finding Committee (Aifocom) to Combat the Drug Menace, said the lawmakers in the Asean region shared lessons that they could learn from each other.
But each member state has their own problems on alleged human rights violations, but these are not tackled in the Aifocom meetings, Barbers said.
“No discussions of human rights. We focused mainly on information sharing, the intelligence gathering, the best practices employed by different Asean member countries in the solving the problem of drugs,” Barbers said in a press briefing at Conrad Manila.
“These are the focal points of the conference. Unfortunately, there was no discussion of human rights,” he added.
Barbers maintained that the alleged killings of drug suspects by police operations and alleged vigilantes were not directly ordered by President Duterte.
“I don’t see any reasons why we should connect the issue of human rights to the campaign of the Duterte administration in the war against drugs,” Barbers said.
Barbers said the drug menace is so bad that drug suspects should not be treated with “kid’s gloves.”
For his part, Aipa Secretary General Isra Sunthornvut said the Asean parliamentarians met to share their best practices and not judge each other’s practices to stamp out the drug menace.
“We want to learn from one another. So there was no room for criticisms. There was no reason for criticisms, because the Philippine way is the Filipino way. As long as we’re addressing the situation. We’re not here to judge,” Sunthornvut said.
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