For information only – not an official document
22 December 2020
International Narcotics Control Board reviews the drug control situation in the Philippines, including alleged extrajudicial responses to suspected drug-related activities, and reiterates request to conduct a mission to the Philippines
VIENNA, 22 December (United Nations Information Service) – During its 129th session, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) held consultations with senior representatives of the Government of the Philippines to discuss the country’s implementation of its legal obligations under the three international drug control conventions in conjunction with continued reports of extrajudicial acts of violence, including killings of people in the Philippines suspected of engaging in drug-related conduct and drug use.
Over the past years, INCB has joined other UN bodies in drawing the attention of the international community to these allegations and has repeatedly called on the Government of the Philippines to immediately halt acts of violence against people who use drugs and people suspected of involvement in the illicit drug trade and to take measures to ensure that all reported incidents are investigated, and if warranted prosecuted, according to the rule of law.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has highlighted that reports of these killings continue, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. INCB has remained in dialogue with the Government of the Philippines on these issues and has been working to secure a Board mission to the country to review implementation of the three drug control conventions on the ground.
INCB has stated unequivocally that extra-judicial responses to drug-related activities are in clear violation of the international drug control conventions, which require that states address drug-related crime through formal criminal justice responses based on full adherence to internationally recognized standards for due process and human rights.
The Board has repeatedly stressed that any action taken in the name of drug control which violates international human rights standards and norms is also a violation of the international drug control conventions. States Parties to the drug control conventions have an obligation to prevent drug use and treat people with drug use disorders through measures that are evidence-based and that respect the human rights and dignity of each patient.
The Board welcomes the development of the United Nations Joint Programme for human rights in the Philippines as an important step towards strengthening accountability and ending human rights violations, including in the name of drug control. INCB underscores the significance of the Joint Programme’s positive engagement with the Government of the Philippines and the importance of technical assistance and capacity building for realizing meaningful improvements to the human rights situation. The Board stands ready to support this initiative.
INCB is committed to continue its engagement with the Government of the Philippines and appreciates the constructive dialogue held with representatives of the Government during the Board’s 129th session. The Board will continue to seek a mission to the Philippines and will remain seized of the matter.
INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring Government compliance with the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the thirteen members of the Board are elected in a personal capacity by the Economic and Social Council for terms of five years.
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