Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte has been tightening his controversial fight against local and international drug traffickers, leading to thousands dead, and human rights violations continue to grow. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin of the Frontera Fund say the majority of the victims have been petty criminals, instead of the drug masterminds they claim to be after.
President Duterte has admitted that security forces kill people in the name of the fight against drug-related crime, and nearly 400 local suspected drug dealers have been murdered. Larkin and Lacey question if these security forces have turned into death squads. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/
Organizations such as Amnesty International have accused President Duterte and his security forces of massive human rights violations, but Duterte says he will not allow the U.S. and European Union to intimidate him. 72-year old Duterte says, “I am old and do not fear going to jail or going to hell; I will cut off the heads of any opponents.” Larkin and Lacey both warn of the erosion of human rights, and point out that rationale is seriously threatened.
Dutertes sharpest critics include the European Union, which threatened among other things, a stop of duty-free imports from the Philippines. According to recent data from the Philippine government, the European Union is the largest and fastest growing exporter of the Philippines since the first quarter of 2017. Currently two-thirds of Philippine categories of EU import duties are exempt.
The EU and China both have offered aid to help with programs to hinder international drug trades, but Duterte turned down any support. The Philippine Finance Ministry has recommended not to accept any other financial assistance in the future if the aid is contingent on to the interference. Michael and Larkin say Duterte is steamrolling any human right protections the Philippine citizens may have.
Eradicating drug dealers was part of Dutertes campaign promises, among other things, and he was elected by a large majority. These are the harsh realities the Frontera Fund fights against. The fund distributes grants to organizations that help strengthen communities that fight to end abuse. Four years ago, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin founded the Frontera Fund.
After winning a $3.7 million dollar settlement, against Maricopa County, Arizona, Larkin and Lacey allocated the money for the Hispanic community, focusing on their civil rights issues. Today, the Frontera Fund helps various organizations mobilize public opinion, and fight against human and civil right abuses