Politics

Trump Praises Duterte For Killing Drug Dealers And Addicts

| by David Bonner

President Donald Trump is being widely criticized for praising Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a phone call on April 29.

An official transcript of the call, which was produced by the Philippine's Department of Foreign Affairs, was obtained and published by The Intercept.

During the call, Trump praised Duterte's war on drugs. "I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem," he told the Filipino leader. "Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that."

Trump also called him a "good man," and told him to keep up "the good work."

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Duterte summed up his drug war strategy following his inauguration in September 2016, as quoted by Human Rights Watch. "Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them. If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have me."

On Jan. 31, Amnesty International issued a special report on Duterte's war on drugs.

"Acting on instructions from the very top of government, the Philippines police have killed and paid others to kill thousands of alleged drug offenders in a wave of extrajudicial executions that may amount to crimes against humanity," said the press release that accompanied the report.  

The 68-page report's contents are summarized by Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director:

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This is not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor. Often on the flimsiest of evidence, people accused of using or selling drugs are being killed for cash in an economy of murder. ... Under President Duterte’s rule, the national police are breaking laws they are supposed to uphold while profiting from the murder of impoverished people the government was supposed to uplift. The same streets Duterte vowed to rid of crime are now filled with bodies of people illegally killed by his own police.

... What is happening in the Philippines is a crisis the entire world should be alarmed by. We are calling on the government, from President Duterte down, to order an immediate halt to all extrajudicial executions. We are also calling on the Philippines Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute anyone involved in these killings, regardless of their rank or status in the police or government.

... The Philippines should move away from lawlessness and lethal violence and reorient its drug policies towards a model based on the protection of health and human rights. We want the Philippines authorities to deal with this human rights crisis on their own. But if decisive action is not taken soon, the international community should turn to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to carry out a preliminary examination into these killings, including the involvement of officials at the very top of the government.

Sources: Daily Mail, The Intercept, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International / Photo credit: Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons

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