ASEAN human rights group slams PH 'bloody war on the poor'

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Government data show that those killed in anti-illegal drug operations have reached only 4,000. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 10) — A human rights group composed of former and current Southeast Asian lawmakers called out the Philippines' "bloody war on the poor" on International Human Rights' Day Sunday.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said in a statement they have witnessed backsliding on democracy and human rights commitments in the region, putting vulnerable communities at risk.

"Among the most concerning developments have been an all-out assault on democracy and civic space in Cambodia, the perpetuation of a bloody war on the poor in the Philippines, and unspeakable atrocities committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar," the statement read.

Other human rights organizations have slammed the alleged human rights violations in relation to the spate of killings brought on by President Rodrigo Duterte's war against illegal drugs.

In a statement Tuesday, however, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government respects human rights as enshrined under the Constitution and under its membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

"The Duterte Administration works hard with the best interest of every Filipino, especially the poor and the marginalized and most vulnerable, as its main concern," Roque claimed.

He added that the government's current human rights programs were "unanimously accepted and commended" in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the human rights situation in the Philippines last September.

READ: PH rejects over half of human rights recommendations of UN

On December 6, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will resume its anti-illegal drugs campaigns Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel under the supervision of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The PNP was previously ordered to pull out from the anti-drug operations amid allegations of human rights abuses. While government data show that those killed in such operations have reached only 4,000, rights group claim the number could go as high as 13,000.