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Karapatan lauds US House of Reps' passage of amendment suspending security assistance to PNP over rights violations

July 22, 2022

QUEZON CITY – Human rights alliance Karapatan welcomed on Friday the recent amendment passed by the United States’ House of Representatives to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would suspend security assistance to the Philippine National Police (PNP) until the police ensures its compliance with basic human rights standards and accountability for violations committed by its personnel.

“For the past six years, the Duterte administration has used the US government’s security aid to the police and the military to beef up funds for its campaigns of State violence and repression such as the bloody and bogus drug war and its war against political dissenters. With the Marcos Jr. administration pledging to continue these campaigns, the passage of this amendment in the NDAA is a strong message from the American people that they will not tolerate the use of their taxes to enable human rights violations in the Philippines,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.

The said amendment under Section 58 of the NDAA, which was introduced by Pennsylvania 7th District Rep. Susan Wild, provides that no funding will be made available to the Department of State for assistance to the PNP, including equipment and training, until the Secretary of State has certified that the PNP has “investigated and successfully prosecuted” its members “who have violated human rights,” and established protection of the rights civil society activists “to operate without interference.”

Last June 24, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan requested the resumption of the ICC’s investigation into the alleged crimes against humanity in the drug war, which was suspended following a deferral request from the Philippine government.

Khan averred in his request that the Philippine government failed to show that “any individual has been investigated for ordering, planning, or instigating any of these killings, nor is there any indication that the domestic authorities are investigating the alleged systemic nature of these and other killings.” The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber has now asked the Philippine government as well as drug war victims and their families for comments regarding Khan’s request.

Palabay continued that the Khan’s findings “clearly illustrate that the PNP does not meet the conditions stipulated in the amendments to the NDAA, and these should compel the US government to immediately halt its security aid to the Philippines and end its complicity in the human rights violations committed by the PNP.”

“We laud Rep. Wild for her tireless solidarity efforts, such as introducing and reintroducing the Philippine Human Rights Act in the US Congress, as well as spearheading the calls to impose targeted sanctions on officials of the Duterte administration responsible for the worst atrocities against the Filipino people. Her actions demonstrate that the international community can undertake meaningful steps to demand accountability and to support the Filipino people’s struggle for justice,” the Karapatan official ended.