Report claims Philippines police 'routinely' kill drug suspects

It is estimated more than 7,000 people have been killed in the bloody 'war on drugs'

Report claims Philippines police 'routinely' kill drug suspects

Arrested drug suspects wait to be transported to a police station following a raid in the continuing

A human rights charity has accused police in the Philippines of falsifying evidence in the ongoing 'war on drugs' in the country.

The violent crackdown on suspected drug dealers and users has been underway since the election of Rodrigo Duterte as president last year.

Duterte has previously warned drug dealers that "my order is shoot to kill you. I don't care about human rights, you better believe me".

It is estimated that more than 7,000 people have been killed.

It is feared that 'extrajudicial' killings have been conducted by police, alongside deadly attacks by vigilantes & gangs.

Humans Rights Watch - who have published a new report on the situation in the Philippines - claims that masked gunmen taking part in killings 'appeared to be working closely with the police'.

The claims contrast with suggestions from the Philippines government that the majority of killings were carried out by gangs or vigilantes.

The report also accuses the Philippine National Police of planting evidence - such as spent ammunition, guns and drugs - on victims' bodies 'to implicate them in drug activities'.

HRW also suggests that Duterte and senior officials could potentially be held liable for crimes against humanity.

"Deaths of thousands"

Report author Peter Bouckaert - emergencies director at Human Rights Watch - said: "Our investigations into the Philippine ‘drug war’ found that police routinely kill drug suspects in cold blood and then cover up their crime by planting drugs and guns at the scene. President Duterte’s role in these killings makes him ultimately responsible for the deaths of thousands.

"Under the veneer of anti-drug operations, the Philippine police at Duterte’s urging have killed thousands of Filipinos. Many killings of drug suspects followed the same deadly routine and indicate a pattern of police abuse," Mr Bouckaert added.

The country's foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr defended the government's anti-drug measures before the UN Human Rights Council on Monday.

In remarks quoted by AFP, he warned: "There can be no middle ground for the well-being of our people. We will not be kind.

"We will not hesitate to destroy criminals who seek the wholesale destruction of our society."

The UN has previously raised concerns over the situation in the Philippines.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein last year called for an investigation into Duterte's admission that he had personally killed three suspected criminals during his time as mayor of the city of Davao.

Zeid argued: “The killings committed by Mr Duterte, by his own admission, at a time when he was a mayor, clearly constitute murder. It should be unthinkable for any functioning judicial system not to launch investigative and judicial proceedings when someone has openly admitted being a killer.”