An official of the Embassy of Germany in Manila on Monday reminded the Philippines to honor its commitment to uphold human rights as the country reels from the fallout of a series of massive police anti-drug operations that had killed dozens of suspects, including a 17-year-old boy.
Roland Schissau, deputy head of mission of the German Embassy, said the Philippines is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) drafted by the United Nations in 1948.
“As signatory to international human rights agreements, it is your obligation, and it is binding to Filipino people to engage in dialogs, explain potential shortcomings and stop the impunity,” Schissau said in a news forum at The Manila Hotel. He clarified though that he was neither interfering in the affairs of the Philippines nor telling the government how best to solve the drug problem.
Schissau welcomed the move of the Senate to investigate the killing of suspected drug users and pushers.
“Human rights are universal. We all work for crime-free society. There may be short-term successes, which actually weaken the institution,” the German envoy said.
Schissau said the European Union, of which Germany is an active member, is a staunch supporter of human rights and is very sensitive when blatant transgressions are being committed.
In March this year, the European Union issued statements condemning the extra-judicial killings in the country as well as the arrest and detention of Sen. Leila de Lima who was accused of involvement in illegal drug deals at the national penitentiary.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year, thousands of drug suspects and criminals have been killed. The President last week lauded the policemen who killed 32 suspects in Bulacan and called on the police to kill more.
According to the Philippine National Police, from July 1, 2016 to July 26, 2017, there were 68,214 police operations that resulted in the arrest of 96, 214 drug personalities and killing of 3,451.
However, private anti-crime groups claimed more than 6,000 people were killed.
Meanwhile, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza expressed alarm over the death of 17-year-old Kian Lyd Delos Santos in the hands of Caloocan City police.
He said the PNP has turned into a syndicate of killers, victimizing small-time drug pushers.
“The President himself said that he will not allow children to be victims of illegal drugs. In the case of Kian, all of us are victims here. Our children will suffer the consequences since the culture of death sets in,” Atienza told a Manila forum.
“Please, do not leave to the police to solve drug addiction. Killing these drug addicts and drug pushers is not the solution. Violence will encourage more violence. That’s why outside police operations there are EJKs,” he said.