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Duterte's drug war devastates children’s lives – Human Rights Watch

Non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday said that the Philippine government's war against illegal drugs had not only resulted in the death of thousands, but had also been devastating to the lives of countless children.

In a statement, HRW said its new web feature "Collateral Damage: The Children of Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs'" shared the stories of some of these severely scarred children, who suffer from the emotional, psychological, and economic impact of the drug war's violence.

"The United Nations Human Rights Council, whose 41st session began on June 24, 2019, in Geneva, should adopt the resolution initiated by Iceland that asks the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the Philippines’ 'drug war' and human rights crisis," the watchdog said.

HRW said that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte needed, to not only end the violence, but provide the necessary services to mitigate the damage that abuses by the police and police-backed vigilantes have caused children who have lost parents and other family members, or witnessed extrajudicial killings.

“No child should experience the loss of a parent or other family member to extrajudicial killings or witness such horrific violence at the hands of police or hitmen,” Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher at HRW, said.

“The toll of the Philippines’ ‘drug war’ does not end with the killing of a drug suspect, but may extend to their children, often completely destroying families."

By the government’s own admission, more than 6,600 people have been killed since the “drug war” began after Duterte’s election three years ago, according to HRW.

"Other estimates are much higher. Children have been among those who died during police operations, either directly targeted or inadvertently shot by the police," the NGO lamented.

Among the inadvertent victims of the war was "Jennifer," who was  11 years old when police shot her father to death. She has since had difficulty eating, had become withdrawn, and for a while stopped going to school.

Meanwhile, "Kyle," 5 years old, developed aggressive behavior after assailants murdered his father, HRW reported.

Three other children interviewed by HRW ended up living in the streets because nobody could take care of them.

Most victims of the “drug war” come from poor families in impoverished urban areas in Manila and other cities across the Philippines.

“The tragic stories of children victimized by the Philippines’ ‘drug war’ should energize the UN Human Rights Council to bolster efforts to put an end to the killings,” Conde said.

“The Philippine government needs to be held accountable for the suffering of these children." — John Ted Cordero/DVN, GMA News

Tags: news, warondrugs, hrw