Manila, Philippines – The Filipino peasant women group Amihan lauded the International Criminal Court’s recently announced authorization of an official probe into the crimes against humanity perpetrated under Duterte’s ‘war on drugs.’ The organization also slammed Malacañang’s repeated declarations that it will refuse to cooperate, calling it an obstruction of justice and an outright admission of guilt.

“Since the beginning of Duterte’s presidency, at least 340 farmers including 45 peasant women have been killed in cold blood. We hope that this investigation will help lead to the long-withheld justice the victims’ families and communities have sought for almost six years,” said Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano. “Duterte and his cronies know reckoning is upon them. They will do everything in their power to avoid answering for their crimes, but the trail of blood will always lead back to them.”

The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women is among the many rights groups in the Philippines that have been actively condemning the political killings of activists and drug war’s tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings, including at least 122 children. The group also highlighted crimes against humanity committed by the government’s ‘anti-terror’ programs, in addition to those tied to the drug war and political persecution.

“We invite the international community to also join us in demanding justice for the Filipino activists, peasant leaders and community organizers incarcerated and killed under the government’s bogus counterinsurgency operations,” Soriano added. “Just like the war on drugs, Duterte’s fictitious ‘war on terror’ is a front for the mass slaughter of innocents. The only difference is that in the latter, he blatantly targets those who speak out against his administration’s injustices.”

The ICC probe will cover crimes committed in the context of the ‘war on drugs’ during Duterte’s presidency from 1 July 2016 to 16 March 2019. It will also investigate drug war killings in the Davao area between 1 November 2011 to 30 June 2016, during which Duterte held the positions of Davao City mayor and vice mayor. ###

Artwork by Karapatan

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