International group calls for an end to enforced disappearances

While the drug-related killings have overshadowed enforced
disappearances, there are reports of the rise of the number of EJK
victims who were first abducted and disappeared before their bodies were
found.

By HEATHER MARIAN AMOROSO

Bulatlat.com –
http://bulatlat.com/main/2018/06/14/international-group-calls-end-enforced-disappearances/

14 June 2018

MANILA — The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)
called on President Duterte, Friday June 8, to stop extrajudicial
executions and enforced disappearances.

AFAD Secretary General Mary Bacalso said in a press briefing that the
country is experiencing the “worst human rights crisis” since the Marcos
dictatorship with 535 reported incidents, 358 of which occurred during
the reign of Martial Law in Mindanao.

“The violent crackdown on illegal drugs has plunged the Philippines into
its worst human rights crisis since the Marcos dictatorship with an
unprecedented number of human rights violations and among which are
enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings,” Bacalso said.

The government, however, has denied any involvement in the killings,
saying that nearly 4,000 were killed in police operations for resisting
arrest and the police had to defend themselves.

Bacalso reported that out of 2,326 reported victims of enforced
disappearances, only 1,993 have been documented. Of this, 1,166 have yet
to appear, 584 surfaced alive while 243 were found dead.

AFAD, furthermore, urged the government to fully implement Republic Act
10353 or the Anti-enforced of Involuntary Disappearances Act of 2012,
which makes crimes on enforced disappearance punishable by life
imprisonment.

While the drug-related killings have overshadowed enforced
disappearances, there are reports of the rise of the number of EJK
victims who were first abducted and disappeared before their bodies were
found.

Human rights organizations however, find it extremely difficult to
document these cases as the families of the victims refuse to disclose
material information about the disappearance and the subsequent
extrajudicial killing for fear of reprisal, intimidation or them
suffering the same fate, the groups said.

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Chito Gascon urged the
government to reconnect the Philippines’s ties with the International
Criminal Court (ICC) after the country made steps to withdraw from the
Rome Statute.

“We should affirm to the global community that we are a country that is
committed to international justice and to show that, we must prove full
support to the International Criminal Court,” Gascon said.
(http://bulatlat.com)