Philippines decries European Parliament’s ‘interference’

MANILA, April 20 (Reuters) – The Philippines decried what it said was interference in its internal affairs by the European Parliament, which urged the Southeast Asian nation in a resolution to end “extrajudicial killings” and abandon plans to reintroduce death penalty.

About 4,100 people have been killed by police in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte took power in June 2016 in what the authorities say were shootouts during anti-narcotics operations.

At least 2,300 drug-related deaths have occurred separately, at the hands of what police say are unknown assassins.

The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution condemning Philippine authorities for “trying to justify these murders with falsified evidence”.

“The European Parliament has crossed a red line when it called for unwarranted actions against the Philippines,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement issued late on Thursday.

The European Parliament and its members have criticised the Philippines’ brutal “war on drugs” several times, infuriating Duterte, who has directed his frustration on the European Union as a bloc instead.

European lawmakers also called on Manila to remove “human rights defenders” from its list of what it considers as terrorists, including Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

They also condemned “the intimidation and the abuse” of human rights defenders, activists and journalists, and said reintroducing the death penalty in the Philippines was against its international obligations.

“In case the members of the European Parliament are not aware of it, may we remind them that their recommended actions already constitute interference in the affairs of a sovereign state,” Cayetano said

He said the European Parliament’s resolution was based on “biased, incomplete and even wrong information and does not reflect the true situation on the ground”.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Michael Perry)


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