Philippines: Review of the country’s human rights record must condemn grave violations in the ‘war on drugs’

Governments must condemn serious human rights violations, including the killing of thousands of individuals, mostly from poor and marginalised backgrounds, in the so-called ‘war on drugs’, when the Philippines’ human rights record is examined under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 8 May 2017. Since the Philippines last review in 2012, the human rights situation on the ground has deteriorated significantly, following the launch of a violent anti-drug campaign by President Rodrigo Duterte, shortly after he came to power in 2016.

In preparation for the Philippines’ UPR, Amnesty International submitted a report to the Human Rights Council highlighting concerns about the country’s human rights record over the past four years, and offering recommendations to address persistent human rights challenges.

Amnesty International, together with other human rights organisations and the international community, have expressed alarm at serious human rights violations in the government’s anti-drug campaign. These have included unlawful killings during police operations, killings by unknown armed persons linked to the police and under-the-table payments to police to kill, which may amount to crimes against humanity.

States participating in the review must call on the Philippines to end extrajudicial executions in the ‘war on drugs’ in particular. The thousands of deaths that have already occurred should be investigated independently and efficiently. Those responsible, irrespective of rank or political seniority, must face justice, and families of the victim afforded reparation.

The organization is also concerned about reports of enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment by police officers during arrest and detention, and the pattern of impunity which persists in relation to these violations. Women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights continue to be violated by the total abortion ban.


The UPR review is taking place on Monday 8 May 2017 between 09.00 and 12.30 local time in Geneva, Switzerland. Amnesty International’s written submission to the UN UPR Working Group can be accessed here:

The UPR review on the Philippines can be accessed through live webcast at: