By Michael Bueza
As of January 31, 2017, there have been over 7,000 deaths, both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings.
Exasperated by the illegal drugs menace in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has waged an all-out campaign against it since he assumed office.
From July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017, there have been over 7,000 deaths linked to the "war on drugs" – both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings (including deaths under investigation).
Here are the latest numbers based on revised data from the Philippine National Police (PNP). This page will be updated regularly.
total number of people killed in #WarOnDrugs since July 1, 2016
suspected drug personalities killed in police operations, as of January 31, 2017
victims in cases of deaths under investigation, as of January 9, 2017
victims in cases where investigation has concluded, as of January 9, 2017
As of 6 am of September 14, the number of suspects killed in police operations reached 1,506. But during a Senate probe on extrajudicial killings that day, PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa said that after validation by its Directorate for Operations, the figure was corrected to only 1,105 deaths.
'Double Barrel' and 'TokHang'
The PNP calls its campaign against illegal drugs "Oplan Double Barrel." (READ: Warning to drug dealers: PNP has 'double barrel' plan)
Meanwhile, Project "TokHang" – a contraction of "toktok" and "hangyo" (Visayan words for "knock" and "request" respectively) – refers to the strategy of the police nationwide to go house-to-house in their jurisdictions and convince known drug pushers and users to surrender and change their ways.
On October 26, the PNP launched Phase 2 of Oplan Double Barrel. After this, the statistics that the PNP started sending to media were "reset" to zero. For this purpose, figures from Phase 2 of Oplan Double Barrel were added to the final figures of Phase 1 as of October 26.
But on November 2, the PNP returned to its cumulative count.
Data below is as of January 31, 2017, 6 am.
number of police operations conducted
drug personalities arrested
houses visited via Project Tokhang
total number of surrenders in Project Tokhang
- 79,349 pushers
- 1,110,113 users
EJKs, deaths under investigation
The PNP also records reports of extrajudicial, vigilante-style, or unexplained killings. Many of these cases are still being investigated by the police.
Data below is as of January 9, 2017.
number of murder cases outside police operations
number of cases/incidents of deaths under investigation
number of cases/incidents with investigation concluded; among these:
- 543 are w/ suspects arrested
- 332 are w/ suspects at large
Police, military casualties
Revised data below is as of January 30, 2017.
police personnel killed during operations
(including 13 for validation)
AFP personnel killed in action
police personnel wounded during operations
(including 10 for validation)
AFP personnel wounded in action
As of October 15, the number of policemen killed during operations stood at 13, while there were 40 wounded.
On October 19, deaths among police personnel rose to 15, while the number of wounded was revised to 36 after validation. The PNP broke down the casualties between drug-related and non-drug-related incidents, then reported only the drug-related casualties afterwards (7 dead, 24 wounded).
As of November 7, they returned to reporting all police casualties. (Related EXPLAINER: How serious is the PH drug problem? Here's the data)
On January 30, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa ordered a stop to police-initiated anti-illegal drug operations, thereby ending Oplan Tokhang and related activities like buy-busts and the service of search warrants.
This is in accordance with President Duterte's pronouncement to "cleanse the police ranks" first after the PNP came under fire for the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo in October 2016.
This article was originally published on Rappler's website in September 2016 and updated on January 31, 2017.
By Keith Humphreys
In the eyes of many politicians, activists and most of the voting public, tough punishment of nonviolent drug offenders is the main driver of mass incarceration in general and disproportionate imprisonment of people of color in particular. But in his new book “Locked In,” criminologist John Pfaff challenges that assumption, attributing mass incarceration primarily to violent crime and the public policy response to it.
Which side in this high-stakes debate has more facts on its side?
Within the federal prison system, the “war on drugs” seems to explain the bulk of imprisonment and racial disparities as well: 49.5 percent of all federal inmates are serving time for drug crimes, and the percentages are even higher for black (51 percent) and Hispanic (57.7 percent) inmates. But the federal system is a small and unrepresentative slice of the U.S. prison system. State prisons house almost 90 percent of U.S. inmates, and data from that far larger and more representative system tell a different story.
Consistent with Pfaff’s analysis, drug crime convictions account for the incarceration of fewer than 1 in 6 state prison inmates. Also, drug offenses don’t contribute to the appalling racial disparities in imprisonment. The white rate of being sentenced for drug crimes (15 percent) is actually slightly higher than that for blacks (14.9 percent) and Hispanics (14.6 percent). Reducing sentences for nonviolent drug criminals would thus not only have a small impact on mass incarceration, it could also worsen racial disparities in imprisonment rates.
In contrast, and again consistent with Pfaff’s thesis, violent offenses explain the majority of mass imprisonment. They also drive racial disparities in imprisonment because the rate for whites (46.6 percent) is significantly lower than that for blacks (57.8 percent) and Hispanics (58.7 percent).
Given the outsize role of violent crime in mass imprisonment, what should be done about it? Pfaff favors “cutting long sentences for people convicted of violence, even for those with extensive criminal histories, since almost everyone starts aging out of crime by their 30s.” He also advocates for relying less on prison altogether and expanding community-based anti-violence programs that have strong evidence of preventing violence in the first place.
Yale University Law Professor James Forman Jr., author of the forthcoming book “Locking Up Our Own,” agrees with Pfaff’s prescriptions but emphasizes the challenges of implementing them. Forman notes that there are “political barriers to reducing sentences for violent crimes. Even more importantly, we have underinvested in violence prevention programs since the 1970s. Programs that work within the nooks and crannies of one particular community aren’t taken to scale because they lack the required funding and human capital.”
The significant political and practical challenges of transforming society’s response to violence may help explain why voters and politicians cling to the myth that prisons will empty out if we simply reduce penalties for nonviolent drug crimes. The road of reform laid out by Pfaff and Forman is a relatively harder one to walk. But if the desired destination is an end to mass incarceration, it’s the only way to get there.
This blog was published on The Washington Post's website on February 8, 2017.
This report provides an introduction to modern slavery, maps how modern slavery impacts on supply chains, and makes the case for why governments need to require business to take action on this issue.
The full report is available on the Walk Free Foundation's website.
Tom Odula / AP
A Kenyan court ruled Thursday that the government must not close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia, a decision that eases pressure on Somalis who feared the camp would close by the end of May.
Kenya's internal security minister abused his power by ordering the closure of Dadaab camp, Judge John Mativo said, adding that the minister and other officials had "acted in excess and in abuse of their power, in violation of the rule of law and in contravention of their oaths of office."
Rights groups Amnesty International, Kituo cha Sheria and the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights had challenged the government's order to close the camp.
Kenya's government quickly said it will appeal the ruling.
The judge called the order discriminatory, saying it goes against the Kenyan constitution as well as international treaties that protect refugees against being returned to a conflict zone.
President Uhuru Kenyatta's government has not proved Somalia is safe for the refugees to return, the judge said, also calling the orders to shut down the government's refugee department "null and void."
Somalia remains under threat of attacks from homegrown extremist group al-Shabab. Some Kenyan officials have argued that the sprawling refugee camp near the border with Somalia has been used as a recruiting ground for al-Shabab and a base for launching attacks inside Kenya. But Kenyan officials have not provided conclusive proof of that.
President Donald Trump's temporary ban on travel from seven majority Muslim countries, including Somalia, had put added pressure on the Dadaab refugees. Last weekend, about 140 of the Somali refugees who had been on the brink of resettling in the United States were sent back to Dadaab instead.
Said Abuka, a community leader in Nairobi and a refugee for 22 years, said the court ruling would help the Somali refugees. Newborn babies could not be registered as refugees because of the shutdown of Kenya's refugee department, he said.
"After months of anxiety because of the camp closure deadline hanging over their heads, increasingly restricted asylum options and the recent U.S. administration suspension of refugee resettlement, the court's judgment offers Somali refugees a hope that they may still have a choice other than returning to insecure and drought-ridden Somalia," said Laetitia Bader, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Al-Shabab has carried out several attacks on Kenya, which sent troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight the militants. The attacks include the September 2013 attack on Westgate mall that killed 67 people and the 2015 attack on Garissa University that killed 148 people, mostly students.
The article was published on Time's website on February 9, 2017.
Sudhin Thanawala / AP
(SAN FRANCISCO) — A federal appeals court will decide whether to reinstate President Donald Trump's travel ban after a contentious hearing in which the judges hammered away at the administration's motivations for the ban, but also directed pointed questions to an attorney for two states trying to overturn it.
It was unclear which way the three judges of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would rule, though legal experts said the states appeared to have the edge.
"I'm not sure if either side presented a compelling case, but I certainly thought the government's case came across as weaker," said Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
A ruling could come as early as Wednesday and could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The appeals court challenged the administration's claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears, but it also questioned the argument of an attorney challenging the executive order on grounds that it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.
The contentious hearing before three judges on the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals focused narrowly on whether a restraining order issued by a lower court should remain in effect while a challenge to the ban proceeds. But the judges jumped into the larger constitutional questions surrounding Trump's order, which temporarily suspended the nation's refugee program and immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries that have raised terrorism concerns.
The hearing Tuesday was conducted by phone — an unusual step — and broadcast live on cable networks, newspaper websites and various social media outlets. It attracted a huge audience, with more than 130,000 alone tuned in to the court's YouTube site to hear audio.
Judge Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush nominee, asked an attorney representing Washington state and Minnesota what evidence he had that the ban was motivated by religion. The two states are suing to invalidate the ban.
"I have trouble understanding why we're supposed to infer religious animus when in fact the vast majority of Muslims would not be affected."
Only 15 percent of the world's Muslims are affected, the judge said, citing his own calculations. He added that the "concern for terrorism from those connected to radical Islamic sects is hard to deny."
Noah Purcell, Washington state's solicitor general, cited public statements by Trump calling for a ban on the entry of Muslims to the U.S. He said the states did not have to show every Muslim is harmed, only that the ban was motivated by religious discrimination.
Clifton also went after the government's attorney, asking whether he denied statements by Trump and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who said recently that Trump asked him to create a plan for a Muslim ban. Judge Michelle T. Friedland, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, asked why the case should not move forward to determine what motivated the ban.
"We're not saying the case shouldn't proceed, but we are saying that it is extraordinary for a court to enjoin the president's national security decision based on some newspaper articles," said August Flentje, who argued the case for the Justice Department.
Under questioning from Clifton, Flentje did not dispute that Trump and Giuliani made the statements.
Clifton said he understood if the government argued that statements by Trump and his advisers should not be given much weight, but he said they are potentially evidence in the case.
Friedland also asked whether the government has any evidence connecting the seven nations to terrorism.
Flentje told the judges that the case was moving fast and the government had not yet included evidence to support the ban. Flentje cited a number of Somalis in the U.S. who, he said, had been connected to the al-Shabab terrorist group.
The ban has upended travel to the U.S. for more than a week and tested the new administration's use of executive power.
Whatever the court eventually decides, either side could ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
The government asked the appeals court to restore Trump's order, saying that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter or stay in the United States. Several states insist that it is unconstitutional.
Flentje offered the 9th Circuit a third option, saying the court could exempt from the ban people who have previously been admitted to the U.S., but keep it in place for people who have never been to the country.
The judges repeatedly questioned Flentje on why the states should not be able to sue on behalf of their residents or on behalf of their universities, which have complained about students and faculty getting stranded overseas.
Purcell said that restraining order has not harmed the U.S. government. Instead, he told the panel, Trump's order had harmed Washington state residents by splitting up families, holding up students trying to travel for their studies and preventing people from visiting family abroad.
A decision by the 9th Circuit was likely to come later this week, Madden said.
If the case does end up before the Supreme Court, it could prove difficult to find the necessary five votes to undo a lower court order. The Supreme Court has been at less than full strength since Justice Antonin Scalia's death a year ago. The last immigration case that reached the justices ended in a 4-4 tie.
How and when a case might get to the Supreme Court is unclear. The travel ban itself is to expire in 90 days, meaning it could run its course before a higher court takes up the issue. Or the administration could change it in any number of ways that would keep the issue alive.
This article was published on Time's website on February 8, 2017.
Palestinians in Iraq face an uncertain future with little hope of escaping life as stateless refugees.
Claire Thomas- Al Jazeera
Erbil, Iraq - Inside Baharka IDP Camp, a government-run refugee camp that provides emergency shelter for over 4,000 internally displaced people, 18 Palestinian families live in a cluster of makeshift homes. Located near the Kurdish city of Erbil, the camp is managed by the Barzani Charity Foundation and the Erbil Refugee Council.
Born and raised in Baghdad, 30-year-old Palestinian Yahia Mahmoud has lived in Baharka camp for over two years. Without permission to work, travel or build a life as a citizen, and with nowhere else to go, Mahmoud and his family, like other Palestinian refugees in Iraq, are trapped in a cycle of isolation, discrimination and continual displacement.
For this family, as is the case for many Palestinians, their identity as stateless refugees is passed down from generation to generation.
Mahmoud's parents were also born as refugees in Iraq. His grandfather fled Palestine during the exodus of 1948, known as the Nakba, when 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were expelled from their homes.
Mahmoud spent most of his childhood in refugee camps surrounding Baghdad. After being continually displaced throughout his life, most recently fleeing from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) fighters in Ramadi, he now lives in Baharka camp with his wife and two children, together with his brother and other relatives.
In August 2016, Mahmoud's mother, Hudda Awad, died from cancer at the age of 57. For four months, she had been unable to continue with her chemotherapy in Iraq; her son believes that she was denied the treatment in part because of her ethnicity. "They did not give it to her because it cost a lot of money and also because we are Arabs, not Kurds," he says.
For Mahmoud and his family, their options are limited. Desperate to provide a brighter and safer future for his children, Mahmoud hopes of someday escaping Iraq in search of the opportunity to build a better life for him and his family as citizens, and not as refugees.
This article was published on Al Jazeera's website on February 5,2017.
The Washington-based organization "Reference Population Bureau" published a new study on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which "suggests that the share of women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is declining in many countries, with girls less likely to be cut than previous generations of women."
This study "provides the latest data on the practice in 29 developing countries with representative and comparable data—although FGM/C occurs worldwide."
The full report can be downloaded here.
This article was published on Population Bureau Reference's website in February 2017.
Cutters turn counselors to fight female genital mutilation in Benin
By Anne Mireille Nzouankeu
COTONOU, Benin (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Browsing a market in Parakou, a city in Benin, 63-year-old Yon Sokogi was troubled by the latest gossip about a teenage bride rejected by her husband after she lost control of her bladder.
Recognizing this as a complication of female genital mutilation (FGM), Sokogi decided to visit 19-year-old Kpaaré, a mother-of-two, in the hope of convincing her go to a hospital.
But Sokogi is not a typical health worker.
She is a cutter-turned-counselor, who put down the knife five years ago - after cutting more than 1,500 girls during a 20-year period - to instead work towards stamping out FGM.
"I did it with a knife, without anesthesia, and without any medical training," Sokogi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, explaining how her mother had trained her to help carry out FGM in their village. "The number of lives I shattered is enormous."
The practice was criminalized in 2003 in the tiny West African nation of Benin, where one in 11 women and girls have been cut - a rate which has almost halved since 2000 - according to data from the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF).
However, an adviser to Benin's first lady Claudine Talon said last week the practice had gone underground, and warned that up to three in 10 women and girls may have undergone FGM.
Facing the risk of up to 20 years in prison, dozens of women like Sokogi are being persuaded by advocacy groups to put down the knife and retrain as counselors in what is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in West Africa.
These counselors try to dissuade parents from cutting their daughters by explaining the harmful effects, and encourage girls suffering complications after undergoing FGM to go to hospital for treatment, rather than turning to traditional healers.
"This is a great first for Benin, and an example that other nations must follow," said Nicolas Biaou, head of Mortiz, one of several grassroots groups which have helped to convert more than 30 cutters to counselors across the country.
This is an excerpt of an article published on Thomson Reuters Foundation's website on February 6, 2017.
Lawyers representing the sister of a Syrian man allegedly tortured to death in 2013 files criminal complaint to Spain’s National Court in first case ever brought against Syrian officials in a Western court.
LAWYERS REPRESENTING THE sister of a Syrian man alleged to have been tortured to death in a detention centre in Damascus in 2013 have launched a criminal complaint against members of the Syrian security forces in Spain’s national court.
Nine members of the Syrian government’s security and intelligence forces were accused of crimes of state terrorism in the 95-page complaint that was filed on Wednesday in Madrid.
The case is the first in a Western court brought against members of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government, with the nine accused understood to include senior officials.
The full names of the nine officials and the name of the victim and his sister have not been made public.
The sister, who is only identified in the complaint as Mrs AH, claims she is a victim of Syrian state terrorism because her brother was arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured and executed in 2013.
Under Spanish law, Spanish prosecutors can investigate the complaint because Mrs AH is a Spanish national, a precedent that has previously been used to investigate crimes committed by state actors in Latin America during the Cold War.
Her lawyers, Guernica 37, said in a statement: “The evidence submitted clearly demonstrates that the Syrian State led by President Bashar al-Assad committed the Crime of Terrorism against its civil population using its security forces and intelligence apparatus.”
It added: “Thousands of detainees have been executed or have died as a result of torture, mass starvation and illness.”
The case was brought to light after a defector known by the codename Caesar, who had worked as a forensic officer, escaped from Syria in September 2013 with more than 50,000 photos documenting the deaths of more than 6,000 people.
Mrs AH and her family were able to identify her brother based on images of victims posted on online by the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees.
Almudena Bernabeu, the lawyer representing Mrs AH, said: “This complaint materialises the efforts of extraordinary professionals from Syria and other parts of the world, who have tirelessly fought for justice during the last five years.
“The Caesar photographs demonstrate the degree of perversion of a state when it decides to attack its people through its institutions. Our desire is that this first step would allow for criminal justice efforts in other jurisdictions, and consequently, bring hope to the thousands of Syrian civilians that continue suffering the consequences of this barbarity.”
The Syrian government has faced international condemnation over its conduct during the country’s more than five-year civil war, in which it is accused of killing the great majority of the hundreds of thousands of people who have died.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the deaths of 14,638 detainees, including 111 children from the start of the uprising until December 2016. This did not include more than 5,500 people who had gone missing or been abducted by state forces. Some 1,500 people were disappeared by the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and rebel factions in Syria.
Overall civilian deaths until December 13 documented by SOHR were 90,506, including 15,948 children and 10,540 women.
More than 102,000 government troops and militia members have died and more than 53,000 rebel fighters have been killed, according to the Observatory. In addition, more than 54,000 foreign anti-government and ISIS fighters have been killed in Syria.
In October then-UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said that Assad’s government was responsible for 300,000 deaths.
Efforts to prosecute Syrian leaders have been obstructed by the presence and vetoing powers of Russia, Assad’s main ally, on the UN Security Council, which normally refers potential war crimes and crimes against humanity cases to the International Criminal Court for investigation.
By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB
A growing chorus of corporate leaders are speaking out against US President Donald Trump’s executive order, which suspends entry into the United States from citizens (or dual citizens) of seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Hi-tech companies were the first to raise concerns at least partly because their industry is utterly reliant on foreign talent.
One study shows that 51% of America’s billion-dollar startups were set up by immigrants. Some of the sector’s biggest companies have been founded or run by executives, engineers, and managers born abroad. Many came as graduate students and stayed on, as Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella’s cases show. Some, like Google co-founder Sergey Brin, are children of refugees. Brin and Pichai addressed Google employees with spirited speeches, expressing solidarity with their anger. (Brin was also seen at the San Francisco airport, showing support to demonstrators and pro bono lawyers, the real heroes of this drama).
Other companies have joined in the protests too.
Starbucks announced that it would aggressively recruit refugees over the next five years. Airbnb is offering free rooms to those stranded. Amazon has reached out to US Congressmen to explore legislative options to counter the executive order. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook also said he is exploring legal options.
Coca Cola, whose CEO Muhtar Kent is Turkish-American, has criticised the travel ban, as has automaker Ford. Goldman Sachs’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein told his employees, “Being diverse is not an option – it is what we must be.” General Electric and Nike, too, have said they oppose the ban. Yogurt maker Chobani, which has recruited refugees for nearly a decade, said it would back every employee who faces any threat or problem because of the executive order.
US corporate leaders deserve praise for speaking out.
Cynics will argue that their moves are calculated – free movement of people, like free movement of goods, benefits the corporate bottom line. Some have even suggested that comp
anies are speaking up because they are global players, and as such have to respond to customers through out the world, not only in America. True, these companies rely on foreign-born workforces at home and overseas. They also rely on foreign markets for revenue and profit.
And yet, to suggest those considerations drive their public posturing is cynical, because it assumes companies that commit themselves to act in a responsible manner don’t take their own policies and commitments seriously. Many of the companies that have spoken out have policies that include acting in a socially responsible manner, and some have human rights policies in place.
CEOs don’t make such decisions lightly. They have many factors to balance, including the safety of their employees and their families. Often, such public advocacy falls way short of what is necessary to protect human rights.
To be sure, the record of these companies may not be perfect. No doubt they can do more, and speak out more often to advocate respect for human rights. But none of that negates from their stand.
Conspicuous by their absence to date are pharmaceutical companies – which rely on foreign talent far more than does the tech sector – and oil companies, which have presence throughout the world, including in countries targeted by the executive order.
The episode demonstrates the need for a more nuance understanding of business-government relationships.
Corporate critics see businesses as allies of the state – relying on governments for contracts, lobbying to change laws, to lower taxes, and to secure preferential terms. But the role of a corporation today is more complex – the pursuit of the bottom-line is important, but other factors, including appearing to be doing the right thing in a global marketplace, as well as living by corporate values, are also important factors. (Ford’s Mark Fields and Coke’s Muhtar Kent both cited their companies values as one reason they criticised the executive order). The values they’ve spoken of include respect for diversity, dignity, inclusion, and equality.
President Trump has set up a Strategic and Policy Forum to advise him on economic matters. Members of the Forum, which includes leaders of Wall Street firms like Blackstone, Blackrock, and JP Morgan Chase, automakers GM and Tesla, transport aggregators like Uber, consumer products company Pepsi, entertainment company Disney, consulting companies EY and Boston Consulting Group, retail giant Walmart, aircraftmaker Boeing, infotech company IBM, among others, have their work cut out.
The world is watching them.
We at IHRB have joined with ICAR, ICCR, and over 60 other organisations in calling on these CEOs to rescind the executive order and prioritize human rights concerns going forward. These corporate leaders must use their collective influence to make the case that pursuit of economic prosperity is impossible without respect for human rights.
This article was published on the Institute for Human Rights and Business' website on February 2nd, 2017.