By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA — High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged other countries not to emulate the Philippines’ “violent anti-illegal drugs campaign” that killed 5,000 people as of February at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland last March 6.
“The drug policies in place in the Philippines and its lack of respect for (the) rule of law and international standards, should not be considered a model by any country,” Bachelet said, citing sources that up to 27,000 individuals may have been killed under the illegal drug campaign.
Bachelet also urged the Philippines to “adopt a public health approach, and harm reduction initiatives, that comply with human rights standards.”
“People who have fallen into the trap of drug reliance need help to rebuild their lives; drug policies should not be more of a threat to their lives than the drugs they are abusing,” Bachelet said.
In a report by Rappler, President Rodrigo Duterte insisted there is no use saving addicts he called “lost souls.”
“Despite serious allegations of extra-judicial killings, only one case – the widely reported killing of a teenage boy – has been subject to investigation and prosecution,” Bachelet said pertaining to the case of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos in August 2017, noting special rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council have been subjected to threats, and opposition politicians, human rights defenders and journalists have been threatened, attacked and jailed.
In another report by ABS-CBN News, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, who recently visited the country, praised the war on drugs as worth emulating by the world.
“Excellency, the war against crime and drugs carried out by you is an example to the whole world, and personally to me. Drug menace is rampant in my country and I feel that we should follow your footsteps to control this hazard,” Sirisena said.
Moreover, Bachelet also expressed “extreme concern” over two Congressional bills seeking to revive the death penalty for drug-related crimes and the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 years old.
Relying on wrong information
In a report by CNN Philippines, Malacañang through Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo accused UN Human Rights Chief Bachelet of relying on wrong information fed by those against President Duterte’s administration.
“She relies on what she receives — information coming from the critics and the detractors of the administration,” Panelo said, refuting Bachelet’s claims referring to it as “foreign meddling on local affairs.”
“We’ve been saying that this information is wrong. Like for instance when she claims that there were 27,000 deaths. Eh ang official count is only 5,000,” Panelo noted.
“Ever since naman sinasabi natin na mas marunong pa sila dito sa bansa, how to deal with our problem,” he added.