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Upsurge in Attacks on Activists, Community Leaders, Rights Defenders

(Manila, January 13, 2021) – The Philippine government’s “drug war” killings intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, as did unnecessary arrests during lockdowns, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Attacks by the police,…
Detainees sleep in an open basketball court inside the Quezon City Jail in Quezon City, Philippines on July 24, 2020. 
News

‘Drug War’ Deaths Rise Dramatically as Country Reels from Covid-19

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s bloody “war on drugs” worsened during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to the government’s own statistics. Police killed 50 percent more people between April to July 2020 than they did in the…
Police officers secure the road leading to the House of Representatives where President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 27, 2020 in Metro Manila, Philippines.
News

Reinstating Capital Punishment Risks International Condemnation, Sanctions

The plummeting human rights situation in the Philippines got even worse this week as the government began considering bills to reinstate the death penalty. The move by the House Committee on Justice came a week after President Rodrigo Duterte used his…
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a late night live broadcast in Malacanang, Manila, Philippines, April 3, 2020.
News

Police to Go House-to-House, Rely on Neighbor Reporting

The Philippine government announced this week that police will conduct house-to-house searches for people who might have been infected with the novel coronavirus and then forcibly relocate them to government-run isolation facilities. The authorities…
A police officer checks the temperatures of passengers inside a jeepney at a checkpoint in Manila, Philippines, March 16, 2020. 
News
Across the globe, people experiencing homelessness face serious risks—this was true before the Covid-19 pandemic. In many wealthy countries, homelessness has come to be seen as a fact of modern society. Some governments have claimed it can’t be…
Tents line a sidewalk on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco, Saturday, April 18, 2020.
News

Reduce Prisoner Populations to Address Severe Health Concerns

(Manila) – The Philippine government has not fully reported prison deaths, raising concerns that Covid-19 is spreading more quickly and widely in the country’s detention facilities, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should investigate…
Inmates sitting in an overcrowded jail in Manila, Philippines, February 2019.
News

Persistently Press Abusive Leaders to End Violations

Authoritarian-leaning countries in southeast Asia are using the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to further repress human rights, which the Australian government cannot afford to ignore. In Cambodia, a new state of emergency law will further…
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures during a speech on the current state of a new virus from China in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.
News

Release Low-Level Offenders; Prioritize Older and Ill Prisoners

(Manila) – Philippine authorities, to stem the COVID-19 outbreak, should release from the country’s overcrowded jails and prisons inmates who have been detained or convicted for low-level and non-violent offenses, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Inmates in the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City, Philippines, January 2017.  (c) 2017 AP Photo
News

Misuse of COVID-19 Law as Dozens Face Probes, Backlash

The Philippine government is cracking down on journalists and social media users critical of the government’s COVID-19 response, threatening media freedom and the rights to free expression and access to information.    On March 24,…
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a late night live broadcast in Malacanang, Manila, Philippines, April 3, 2020.
News

Young People Locked in Dog Cages, Coffins, Stripped Naked

Philippine authorities have subjected children to absurdly abusive treatment for violating curfew and quarantines rules imposed to limit exposure to COVID-19. Police and local officials in several parts of the country have mistreated…
A screenshot of an officer with five youths locked inside a dog cage after breaking curfew in Laguna province, the Philippines on March 20, 2020. © 2020 Facebook
News

COVID-19 Response Should Respect Detainee Rights

(Manila) – Philippine authorities should respect the basic rights of people detained for violating the government’s COVID-19 regulations, Human Rights Watch said today. Police and local officials have confined those arrested to dog cages and forced…
A screenshot of an officer with five youths locked inside a dog cage after breaking curfew in Laguna province, the Philippines on March 20, 2020. © 2020 Facebook
News

Upsurge in Attacks on Activists, Environmentalists

(Manila) – The Philippine government’s murderous “war on drugs” remained the Philippines’ gravest human rights concern in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2020. Security forces were also implicated in often deadly…
Veiled protesters, mostly relatives of victims of alleged extra-judicial killings, display placards during a protest outside the Philippine military and police camps
News

Government, Rebel Forces in Negros Should End Unlawful Attacks

Killings in the Philippines’ Negros Oriental province surged over the weekend, with the 14th fatal shooting on Negros island in a week. Media reports said gunmen shot dead Anaciancino Rosalita in a public market in Canlaon City. Local activists…
Supporters shout slogans as they hold paper crosses bearing names of killed people from Negros Oriental province during a rally in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Monday, April 8, 2019.
News

Lowering Age of Criminal Responsibility Would Impede Rehabilitation

(New York) – Philippine legislators should reject a draft law to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to 12, Human Rights Watch said today. Both houses of the Philippine Congress appear set to approve a bill that would incarcerate greater…
In this photo taken last year in Manila, children are detained in a Bahay Pagasa detention center, the same type of facility the Philippine government plans to use  under a proposed new law that would lower the age of criminal responsibility. (c) 2018 Car
News

‘Drug War’ Killings Continue; Attacks on Activists, Journalists Rise

(New York) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration heightened its repression in 2018, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. The government’s murderous “war on drugs” expanded to cities outside Manila.…
Activists hold a candle light vigil for victims of the extra judicial killings in the drug war of the government in front of a church in Manila on September 16, 2016
News

New Police Campaign Has Nabbed 8,000 Suspects, Many Detained in Overcrowded Jails

  (Manila) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) should immediately end a “crime prevention” campaign that has disproportionately targeted “loiterers” in low-income areas of Manila and other cities, Human Rights Watch said today. Since June…
Detainees sit next to an anti-drug mural of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte inside the Manila City Jail, October 16, 2017.
News

Failing Drug Screening Could Have Deadly Consequences

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous “war on drugs” may soon place thousands of primary school children in harm’s way. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) announced on Friday that it is seeking the…
Mourners watch as Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old student who was shot during anti-drug operations, is buried in Metro Manila, Philippines, August 26, 2017.
News

Catholic Priest, Journalist Are Latest Targets of ‘Riding-in-Tandem’ Killers

On June 11, in the northern Philippine province of Nueva Ecija, Father Richmond Nilo of Zaragosa town was preparing Mass when an unidentified gunman entered the church and killed him. A few days earlier, on June 7, an assailant shot and killed…
A Catholic nun displays a placard as she participates in a procession against plans to reimpose death penalty and intensify drug war during "Walk for Life" in Luneta park, Metro Manila, Philippines February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
News

Nod to Due Process Underscores Wider Accountability Deficit in ‘Drug War’

The Philippine National Police (PNP) did something extraordinary this week: It took action to protect the rights of criminal suspects. On Monday, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde declared that the police will stop parading criminal suspects in…
Oscar Albayalde arrives for the National Police chief handover ceremony in Camp Crame, Quezon City, metro Manila, Philippines, April 19, 2018.
News

Stronger Official Action Needed to Combat Asia-Pacific’s Fastest Growing HIV Epidemic

The Philippine Senate passed a bill on Monday that would amend the country’s 20-year-old AIDS law, and which promises to improve the government’s response to the HIV epidemic, the fastest-growing in the Asia-Pacific region. The draft…
Students receive free condoms at an event organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Metro Manila, July 11, 2014.