The Philippine Government on Tuesday said it had quietly been reviewing more than 5,000 deaths that occurred during its aggressive years-long crackdown on drugs, the country’s justice minister said.
In a statement to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s session in Geneva, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said an inter-agency panel conducting the review would come out with a report by the end of November.
The panel, headed by the Department of Justice, has been “quietly conducting a judicious review of the 5,655 anti-illegal drugs operations where deaths occurred,’’ Guevarra said.
The evaluation was independent of the national police’s internal mechanisms, he told the meeting.
“The panel intends to engage affected families, provide them with legal options and assistance in criminal prosecution of law enforcers who have overstepped legal bounds in their operations,’’ he added.
“This review mechanism will not only reinforce accountability on the drug campaign. It will tighten the web of existing mechanisms to prevent cases of impunity,’’ he added.
UN human rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, told the top UN rights body in Geneva that her Human Rights Office concluded that there had been near-total impunity for police killings of drug suspects, indicating unwillingness by the state to hold to account perpetrators of extrajudicial killings.
According to a report that she presented to the Human Rights Council, at least 8,663 people have been killed since the Philippines launched its campaign against illegal drugs in 2016.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Peter Dada (NAN)