Scores of children killed in Manila's war on drugs, says report

Scores of children killed in Manila’s war on drugs, says report

GENEVA (SWITZERLAND) – As many as 129 children have been killed in the Philippines’ four-year war on drugs, most by police or allied assailants, an activist group said on Monday. But the figure may only represent a fraction of the toll, activist groups said on Monday.

The group said in a report that minors have been directly targeted, punished as proxies, or victims of mistaken identity or “collateral damage”.

The World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) and the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Centre, a Philippines- based group, urged the UN Human Rights Council to begin a probe into extrajudicial killings and other crimes at its three-week session opening on Tuesday.

The figures, which include seven child murders this year, are “the tip of the iceberg because it is only those cases that we were able to document and verify, there may be many more in the country”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT secretary-general.

“We are calling on the Human Rights Council to give a clear investigative mandate on the ground to collect the evidence and to ensure accountability,” he told a news conference.

A Philippine presidential palace spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spokesman Harry Roque rejected as “rehashed claims” a separate UN report this month that tens of thousands of people may have been killed in the war on drugs amid near impunity.

But the activists’ report said: “Far from being only ‘collateral damage’, as callously stated by President Rodrigo Duterte, these have often been deliberate killings.”

According to the probe, 38.5% of the documented child killings were carried out by policemen while 61.5% were by unknown assailants, “some of them with direct links to the police”. The youngest victim was a 20-month-old girl.

(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field

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