Friday 28 October 2016

Philippines crackdown on drugs leaves 1,900 dead in seven weeks

Hannah Arios

Published 24/08/2016 | 02:30

Philippines national police director-general Ronald dela Rosa. Photo: Reuters
Philippines national police director-general Ronald dela Rosa. Photo: Reuters

The head of the Philippines police has said more than 1,900 people have been killed during a crackdown on illegal drugs in the past seven weeks.

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Ronald dela Rosa was speaking at a senate hearing into the sharp rise in deaths since Rodrigo Duterte became president. He said police operations had killed about 750 people, but the other deaths were still being investigated.

Mr Duterte won the presidency with his hard-line policy to eradicate drugs.

He has previously urged citizens to shoot and kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, and reiterated that the killings of drug suspects were lawful if the police acted in self-defence.

He also threatened to "separate" from the UN after it called his war on drugs a crime under international law. The US has said it is "deeply concerned" by the increase in drug-related killings.

The senate joint inquiry is being conducted by Senator Leila de Lima, who has called on authorities to explain the "unprecedented" rise in deaths. It is also hearing from the relatives of some of those killed.

Mr dela Rosa told the inquiry yesterday that a total of 1,916 deaths had been recorded during the crackdown, 756 of which were during police operations.

He said the number had gone up even since he gave evidence on Monday, where he gave a figure of 1,800 deaths.

"Not all deaths under investigations are drug-related," he told news agency Reuters, saying about 40 killings were due to robbery or personal disputes.

Irish Independent

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