Dear President Obama and Secretary Kerry,
The mass murder and detention of people suspected of using or selling drugs in the Philippines is a human rights violation and public health disaster of the highest degree. Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30, more than 3,000 people have been murdered and 700,000 have turned themselves into authorities in fear for their lives. President Duterte is directly responsible, calling on Filipinos to “feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun,” and pledging to protect any such murderers from prosecution. He has also invoked the Holocaust and said he would happily “slaughter” three million drug addicts. This deadly stigmatization of people who use drugs represents not only an immediate disaster, but will also have long term health effects that perpetuate the AIDS epidemic.
We call on both of you, President Obama and Secretary Kerry, to publicly speak out and strongly condemn the killing of Filipino drug suspects. We also ask that you immediately withdraw your July 27, 2016 pledge of $32 million in new funding for law enforcement in the Philippines until President Duterte acts to:
Immediately end the incitements to kill people suspected of using or dealing drugs,
Fulfill international human rights obligations, such as the rights to life, health, due process and a fair trial, as set out in the human rights treaties ratified by the Philippines, and
Promote evidence-based, voluntary treatment and harm reduction services for people who use drugs instead of compulsory rehabilitation in military camps.