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US human rights commission to probe PHL war on drugs

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the United States will investigate the "human rights consequences" of the Philippines' war against illegal drugs this week.

According to the Commission, lawmakers will study how the anti-narcotics campaign is being implemented in the country and then issue recommendations on ways to address drug-related problems.

They will also recommend policies that would "ensure" accountability on alleged human rights violations by security personnel.

"Although extrajudicial killings have been a major human rights concern for some time, in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016, the Department of State recognized that such killings increased sharply over the last year.

According to Philippine National Police (PNP) statistics, 7,025 drug-related killings were carried out between July 1, 2016, when Duterte assumed office, and January 21, 2017 — an average of 34 per day," the Commission said on its website.

The members of the panel will include spokesperson of iDefend Ellecer Carlos, senior crisis advisor of Amnesty International Matthew Wells, and deputy director of Human Rights Watch Phelim Kine.

Two American senators, considering concerns over the rising number of deaths related to the Philippine government's war on drugs, filed a bill barring the sale of certain weapons by the United States to the Philippine police force.

Data from the Philippine National Police show that legitimate police operations has led to the deaths of more than 2,600 drug personalities since July 1, 2016 when its war on drugs started under the Duterte administration.

The statistics also point to more than 6,000 deaths under investigation — including those involving drug suspects — for the same period.

The Duterte administration repeatedly denied that these deaths are state-sponsored, often pointing out that vigilante groups are behind the killings. — BAP, GMA News