According to child rights groups in the Philippines, more than 100 children have died since June 2016.
The Philippines’ violent campaign against drugs continues to claim innocent lives—the latest, a 3-year-old girl named Myka Ulpina.
Human Rights Watch reports that Myka died on Sunday (June 30) after being shot during a police raid targeting her father. The police, who have a reputation for lying, claimed that her father used Myka as a “shield” during the raid.
Myka’s death is a grim reminder that authorities enforcing the “war on drugs” in the Philippines—launched by President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2016 upon his taking office—are still carrying out violent attacks on poor and urban Filipinos.
Authorities have admitted to 6,600 killings thus far—but others estimate this number may reach 27,000.
According to child rights groups in the Philippines, more than 100 children have died since June 2016. They include the deaths of 4-year-old Skyler Abatayo in July 2018 and 5-year-old Danica May Garcia in August 2016—both which have been condemned by UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency.
The death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, who was killed by police in August 2017, marked the only time that police officers have been convicted of murdering a drug war victim.
The Drug War Affects Everyone
Human Rights Watch notes, the impact of the government’s violent drug war has a much greater reach than is reported. “The toll of the Philippines’ ‘drug war’ does not end with the killing of a drug suspect, but may extend to their children, often completely destroying families,” said Philippines researcher Carlos Conde.
The trauma of living in this environment, witnessing deaths and the economic toll of losing family members affect children as well.
Human Rights Watch is calling on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution “that urges the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the ‘drug war’ killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines.” The organization says that it would only be a “modest first step” but has the potential to make significant progress toward stopping the “carnage” in the Philippines.