Human Rights Watch urges continuing ban of firearms sales to Philippines
By Andrew Shepperson
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte raises his middle finger during an address to military personnel on July 18, 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)
Human rights groups have urged U.S. lawmakers to continue the ban on firearms sales to the Philippines, as well as to stop support for the Philippine National Police.
At a July 20 hearing before the U.S. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Phelim Kine presented his case to continue the ban on firearms sales, due to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs,” which Kine characterized as a “human rights calamity.”
Kine noted Philippine security forces have killed more than 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users since July 1, 2016. According to government data, at least 3,116 of those killings have been carried out by police. Those totals, Kine pointed out, do not include victims Duterte refers to as “collateral damage,” who are sometimes children caught in the crossfire during drug stings.
Field research conducted by Human Rights Watch found many of the deaths of suspected drug dealers and users were unlawful and could be considered crimes against humanity. Many of the so called “death squad” operations were carried out in urban slums, and interviews with witnesses revealed a pattern of