US moves aid away from Duterte’s drug war due to spate of killings

  • The US government has shifted its assistance away from law enforcement since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign
  • US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said US decided to refocus its assistance to the country following reports of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines
  • US Department of State and Department of Defense is prohibited from providing assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights based on a law

Deeply concerned by reports of extrajudicial killings by government authorities in the Philippines, the American government has shifted its assistance away from law enforcement since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign.

This was disclosed by US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby who was quoted saying in an article published by Philippine Star: “Since the start of the drug campaign, our law enforcement assistance has been refocused away from narcotics control to supporting maritime security efforts and to providing human rights training to the Philippine National Police.”

In stating this, Kirby noted that the US-funded training of the Philippine National Police has historically aimed to transform it into a modern, sustainable and democratic police force.

In addition to this, he cited that the police force should be able to provide internal security in difficult conditions while demonstrating respect for democratic principles and human rights.

Thus, the US decided to refocus its assistance to the country following reports of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines.

“We decided the prudent thing to do was to refocus the way that assistance was being spent,” Kirby disclosed.

As stressed by Kirby,  the American government’s assistance programs seek to expand Philippine capacity to “conduct effective, lawful investigations and professionalizes the criminal justice system so that it is more accountable, transparent, effective, and just.”

Earlier, an American senator made a warning that the US government may reconsider its assistance to the Philippines if the extrajudicial killings continue in the country.

According to Sen. Patrick Leahy, author of the Leahy Law, the spate of summary executions and extrajudicial killings as a result of Duterte’s war against drugs lack respect for international human rights commitments.

As mandated in the Leahy Law, the US Department of State and Department of Defense is prohibited from providing assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights.

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