The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has once again condemned Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war after reports of a 3-year-old girl who died during a police raid.
A dispatch by HRW researcher Carlos Conde published yesterday focuses on the death of 3-year-old Myka Ulpina, who was shot when police were targetting her father in Rizal province.
The organization used this latest example to urge the United Nations Human Rights Council — which the Philippines is a part of — to adopt a resolution that would have the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the drug war killings and other human rights violations in the country.
“The resolution on the table is a modest first step, but if passed and implemented it can make significant inroads towards stopping the carnage in the Philippines,” the HRW said.
Myka died on Sunday, a day after sustaining gunshot wounds during a buy-bust operation in Rodriguez, Rizal that targetted suspected drug pushers including her father Renato Dolofrina. According to the police, Dolofrina allegedly took his daughter hostage and used her as a “human shield” as he fought back the police officers who tried to catch him, The Philippine Star reported.
Also killed in the incident were Dolofrina, an unidentified male companion, and Senior Master Sergeant Conrad Cabigao, who posed as a shabu (meth) buyer, according to The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
In its report yesterday, the HRW questioned police accounts on drug raids and called them unreliable. The organization pointed to reports of the police allegedly planting weapons and drugs to justify extrajudicial killings.
“Deceit has become the hallmark of this brutal campaign,” the HRW said.
According to the latest police data, 6,600 people linked to the drug trade have been killed between July 2016, when Duterte took office, and May 2o19. However, the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights said as far back as December that the death toll could actually be as high as 27,000.
The police continue to defend the killings by saying that the victims resisted arrest but several cases have proven that this was not true.
This includes the controversial death of 17-year-old Kian de los Santos who was killed by cops in Caloocan in August 2017. The police officers claimed that de los Santos resisted arrest and that they killed him in self-defense but CCTV footage from the crime scene actually showed them dragging de los Santos across a basketball court and into a dark alley where he was shot. The three cops linked to the incident were eventually convicted in November.
According to the HRW, these young victims are not the only children “damaged” by the drug war and said that those related to adult victims also struggle with the “psychological, emotional, social, and economic impact” of losing their loved ones.
Just last Monday, the HRW published another dispatch urging the UN Human Rights Council to launch an investigation into the “murderous” drug war.
Duterte has consistently blasted international organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigating the war on drugs. The Philippines left the ICC in March but the court said that it would continue its examination of the drug war despite the withdrawal.