The mounting deaths linked to the Philippine government’s violent crackdown against illegal drugs requires investigation, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday, ahead of her bilateral talks with President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Our view is that number of deaths certainly requires investigation and oversight, at the very least,” Ardern said in several reports by New Zealand news outfits.
“There have been attempts by the international community, is my understanding, and I believe those have not been accepted,” she added. “But certainly it would be a concern of any country to see that level of death as a consequence of that policy.”
Radio New Zealand reported that Ardern would raise the matter during the meeting, which would be held immediately after the closing of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and Related Summits in Manila.
New Zealand has been the Philippines’ dialogue partner since 1975.
The issue of extrajudicial killings and reports of rampant human rights abuses in police operations have taken spotlight during the Asean Summit. Human rights activists, as well as American lawmakers, have urged United States Donald Trump to raise the matter during his meet with Duterte.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, said that the issue of extrajudicial killings had been raised, with Canada expressing concern on the matter.
“I emphasized the people-to-people ties between Canada and the Philippines and the great connection there, but I also mentioned human rights, the rule of law, specifically the extrajudicial killings being an issue Canada is concerned with,” Trudeau said in a press briefing at the sidelines of the summit.
The rest of the Asean member states, however, were silent on the issue. /atm
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