U.S. President Donald Trump / AP File Photo
Amnesty International (AI) Philippines called on United States President Donald Trump on Saturday to challenge President Rodrigo Duterte’s human-rights record during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
AI Philippines Director Butch Olano urged Trump, who has spoken about his ability to talk tough with foreign leaders, “to raise the horrifying human-rights abuses that the region is facing.”
“When he comes face-to-face with President Duterte, he’ll be meeting a man whose policies are responsible for thousands of unlawful killings, including dozens of children and the extrajudicial execution of many others, which may constitute crimes against humanity,” Olano said.
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“Trump must not keep ignoring the grave human-rights situation in the Philippines. The US President’s willingness to challenge the appalling record of President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ is a crucial test of his administration’s commitment to upholding and defending human rights,” he added.
The co-chairs of the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission had appealed to Trump to bring up the issue of human rights during his upcoming meeting with Duterte.
“We urge you to impress upon President Duterte the United States’ profound concern over reported extra-judicial killings associated with the Philippine government’s ‘war on drugs,’” Congressmen Randy Hultgren and James P. McGovern wrote.
This was not the first time the commission expressed concern over the Philippine government’s violent crackdown.
In July, the body urged the U.S. Congress to press the Duterte administration to stop the campaign. McGovern even wanted Duterte to be barred from the White House.
Last year, the U.S. State Department has also stopped the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) amid reports of widespread human-rights violations linked to the campaign.
AI also asked Trump to “make clear that any future US assistance will be linked to clear progress in reforming the PNP and ending impunity in the police,” Olano said.
Since the Duterte administration implemented its deadly war on drugs last year, 6,140 suspected drug personalities have been killed as of September, according to the PNP.
But human-rights activists argue that the deaths could be as high as 13,000. /jpv
Check out our Asean 2017 special site for important information and latest news on the 31st Asean Summit to be held in Manila on Nov. 13-15, 2017. Visit http://inquirer.net/asean-2017.
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