Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the Government from its international legal obligations and do not shield State actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings,” Ms. Callamard stressed. “The State has a legally binding obligation to ensure the right to life and security of every person in the country, whether suspected of criminal offences or not.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, noted that “however necessary, responses to the illicit drug trade must be carried out in full compliance with national and international obligations and should respect the human rights of each person.”
“Concerning drug-dependency, this should be treated as a public health issue and justice systems that decriminalise drug consumption and possession for personal use as a means to improve health outcomes,” stressed Mr. Pūras.
- Alternatives to punishment
“Directives of this nature are irresponsible in the extreme and amount to incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law. It is effectively a license to kill,” the UN expert on summary executions warned. “Intentional lethal use of force is only allowed when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life and should not be used for common policing objectives,” she said.
“Incentives to violence such as bounties or the promise of impunity also seriously contravene the rule of law and must end,” the experts said. “All allegations of killings and extrajudicial executions must be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Perpetrators and instigators must be sanctioned without exception.”
This statement was in response to the killings of hundreds of extra-judicial killings of people suspected of using or dealing drugs in the Philippines, under the campaign launched by President Duterte to eradicate drugs and crime.