Dozens of Children Killed by Police in Philippines Drug War, Amnesty Says

By Bryan Le 12/11/17

The human rights group urges the International Criminal Court to take action in the bloody Philippines drug war.

Young children relaxing at an outdoor park bench in the Philippines.
The ICC will begin to look into crimes against children in the Philippines.

Dozens of children have been killed by Philippines law enforcement in the last 18 months, claims Amnesty International. The group is urging the International Criminal Court to look into these deaths and bring justice to the youths wrongfully killed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug crusade.

An estimated 60 youths have been killed, either as deliberate targets during drug raids or simply caught in the crossfire during shootouts. Some of these deaths were not at the hands of official authorities, but vigilantes carrying out the killings on behalf of police.

Some eyewitnesses have reportedly witnessed police executing children as they begged for mercy.

The most famous victim was Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old student whose grisly death at the hands of police was caught on CCTV. The incident received international attention, with the police’s claims that the killing was in self-defense falling on deaf ears.

Since Duterte took office in June 2016, Philippines authorities claim to have killed over 3,900 “drug personalities,” though rights groups believe that this number has been inflated with small-time dealers and users.

Public support for the crusade has diminished, especially following the death of delos Santos, leading Duterte to officially end the campaign.

"This is better for the bleeding hearts and the media," said Duterte regarding his decision. "I hope I will satisfy you."

But among the thousands killed—with some estimating the kill count to be as high as 8,000—many have died under questionable circumstances.

“It is time for international justice mechanisms to step in and end the carnage on Philippine streets by bringing the perpetrators to justice. The country’s judiciary and police have proven themselves both unwilling and unable to hold the killers in the ‘War on Drugs’ to account,” said James Gomez, Amnesty’s director for southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“The ICC must open a preliminary examination into the situation and cast its net widely. Responsibility is not just limited to those pulling the trigger, but also those who order or encourage murders and other crimes against humanity.”

The ICC has responded that it will focus its attention on cases involving crimes against children.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter