Talk explores human rights work in Philippines

(image: Carlos H Conde Facebook)

A discussion at York University on Feb. 23 will delve into the war on drugs and other human rights violations taking place in the Philippines.

The event will feature Carlos H. Conde from Human Rights Watch (Asia Division), who will talk about these issues and some of the work Human Rights Watch does in the Philippines.

Since taking office on June 30, 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has carried out a “war on drugs” resulting in the deaths of over 12,000 suspected drug dealers and users. The government has attributed nearly half the killings to the Philippine National Police, and the remainder to “unidentified gunmen.” Among those killed are children, often caught in the crossfire, or, in several instances, specifically targeted by the killers.

Cases investigated by the media and human rights groups invariably found unlawful executions by police or agents of the police acting as “death squads.” Duterte himself has been outspoken in support of the anti-drug campaign and has sought to silence its critics. No meaningful investigation into the killings has been undertaken.

But the drug war is only the tip of the iceberg in the spectre of impunity and human rights violations in the Philippines, including the extrajudicial killings of activists, environmentalists and journalists.

This talk runs from 11am to 1pm in Room 956, Kaneff Tower.

Conde is the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. Before joining Human Rights Watch, he worked as a journalist for 20 years, mainly as the freelance correspondent in Manila for the New York Times. Before that, he worked as a reporter and editor for various publications in the Philippines, writing about politics, human rights, the communist and Islamic insurgencies, terrorism and labour migration, among other subjects.

Conde has served as secretary general of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines and has been a fellow at the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. He was also a Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center of the University of Hawai’i.

This event is presented by the York Centre for Asian Research and the Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security. Conde’s visit is made possible thanks to Human Rights Watch.