The Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday the next Philippine leader must ensure that killings are stopped and see to it that the government will cooperate with the International Criminal Court in probing the Duterte administration's bloody drug war.
HRW said aspirants to the country's highest post in the May 2022 elections should give significant attention to human rights as a basic concern of the people.
Philippines: Presidential Candidates Should Address Rights https://t.co/ZOuaA0G7BE— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) January 13, 2022
In its 752-page World Report 2022, the New-York based rights organization also urged the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte to make human rights a priority issue.
“The past six years of the Duterte administration have been an unmitigated disaster for human rights, namely the murderous ‘drug war,’ harassment of the media, and killing of ‘red-tagged’ activists,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in the report.
“The next administration should stop the killings, ensure accountability, and support laws that protect basic rights," he added.
Further, HRW said presidential candidates "must also speak out about the human rights situation in the Philippines" including drug war, steps that need to be taken to stop the ongoing human rights violations and ensure accountability for past abuses.
"All candidates should also announce their willingness to fully cooperate with the ICC investigation," the group also said.
The ICC temporarily halted its probe on the Duterte administration's bloody crackdown on narcotics after the Philippines requested the international court to defer the investigation.
The ICC, however, still asked the Philippines for proof that it is conducting its own investigation into the drug-related killings.
But the HRW said, aside from the drug war, it also observed an increase in red-tagging against leftists, activists, and other human rights groups and threats to journalists.
"There was also an increase in so-called red-tagging- the government labeling of people as fighters or supporters of the communist insurgency – and resulting violence directed against leftist activists, environmentalists, labor organizers, and human rights defenders," the group said.
"Journalists and media outlets were threatened, harassed, and intimidated, often by people linked to the military or police," it added.