HUMAN rights violations in the Visayas mostly committed by the police in 2017 are “alarming,” an international human rights group said yesterday.
The police “sometimes use specific powers such as the use of force and firearms, arrest and detention, and search and seizure” in performing their duties, said Jose Noel Olano, Amnesty International Philippines (AIP) director.
AIP also labeled as a “volatile human rights” the rampant abuses of women and children online in the Visayas.
The rights group yesterday launched its report called the “State of the World’s Human Rights for the years 2017 to 2018.
It zeroed in on the police’s obligations under national and international law to protect human rights to life, liberty, and security of person, and freedom of assembly and of expression.
In its report, AIP highlighted the Duterte administration’s policies on the war on drugs, which the group said has “spiraled into deliberate, unlawful, and widespread human rights violations.”
The supposed violations were “systematic, planned, organized, and encouraged, with most individuals killed coming from poor urban communities.”
“Law enforcement officials are duty bound to respect rights, not only in implementing national policies, such as Oplan Tokhang, but in all their actions to actively protect human rights against abuse,” AIP said.
In its recommendation report titled “When You are Poor, You are Killed” in 2017, the AIP stressed how law enforcement is dependent on clear operational guidelines and on the public for information, such as reporting of crimes, and the latter’s willingness to act as witnesses.
But since the police are also dependent on the community for their professional performance, the AIP said the police should also be aware of the legitimacy they have with the public.
“That without an accessible guideline to all officers at all levels of the chain of command, requiring officers to report abuses, and an adequate policy for the whistle-blower, it will be impossible to implement rights-based policing,” the group said.