Southeast Asia

Burmese dissidents broach opium decrim

Posted on February 28th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaAs Burma's opium wars continue despite the country's democratic opening, actvists are using the new political space to advocate for a more tolerant policy on poppy cultivation. At a Feb. 16 panel in Rangoon, the Drug Policy Advocacy Group (DPAG) issued a call for a reform of Burma’s drug laws, The Irrawady newspaper reports. "The 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law focuses on punishment. But what then, after a drug user is given imprisonment?" asked DPAG coordinator Dr. Nang Pann Ei Kham. "The 1993 law is out of date, and what's more, is that it has not been a successful law [in terms of] drug elimination."

Philippines: legal persecution of drug war critic

Posted on February 20th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , .

South East AsiaHuman Rights Watch has issued an urgent statement calling on Philippine authorities to drop "politically motivated" charges against one of the country's only lawmakers openly critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's blood-drenched "war on drugs," which has claimed more than 7,000 lives since he took office last June. Sen. Leila de Lima, a former secretary of justice, is expected to be arrested within days.

Philippines: Duterte to mobilize the army in drug war

Posted on February 6th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThere was recently a sign that the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte was going to rein in his murderous police in the face of mounting international criticism of their harsh anti-drug crackdown. It took the police killing of a foreign business executive, but Duterte finally pledged that he would disband and reorganize the National Police narco units. But human rights observers may have rejoined too soon. On Jan. 31—just one day after his announcement of the police overhaul—Duterte made a speech to army generals, telling them that while the police were off the drug war beat the armed forces would have to step in to replace them. Rather than taking a step back from the brink, it looks like the Philippines could be following the grim examples of Mexico and Colombia of turning the drug war into a real war, run by the military.

Philippines: Duterte blinks in deadly drug war?

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte may have finally gone too far. It is all too telling that after his anti-drug crackdown has claimed perhaps 7,000 lives since he took power last June, it is the death of a prominent foreign businessman that has finally prompted him to—perhaps—rein in his murderous police. All those suspected low-level drug users and dealers who were killed? Their lives don't matter, apparently. But after rogue National Police officers abducted and put to death a South Korean shipping company executive, Duterte has finally pledged to disband the controversial anti-drug units.

Philippines' anti-narco strongman threatens martial law

Posted on January 17th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaIn his latest outrage, the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte now threatened to actually impose martial law across the country if the drug problem became "very virulent." Reuters on Jan. 16 quoted him as saying: "If I wanted to, and it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law. No one can stop me." In a comment apparently directed at the Supreme Court and Congress, he voiced open defiance of legal norms: "My country transcends everything else, even the limitations."

Philippines: Duterte makes good on threat to kill journalists?

Posted on December 23rd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte has openly threatened to kill human rights activists and journalists who report on his draconian anti-drug crackdown. Now it looks like he may be starting to follow through. Press freedom groups in the Philippines are protesting what they say is the first murder of a journalist in the country since Duterte took office in June. On Dec. 19, Larry Que, publisher and chief correspondent for Catadunanes News Now, a local newspaper in Luzon region (apparently with no website), was shot in the head as he was entering his office, in Virac township. The assailants escaped. Que died from his injuries the next morning.

Philippines: Duterte boasts of personally killing drug suspects

Posted on December 14th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte—facing international outrage for his bloody anti-drug crackdown—boasted to a group of business leaders he hosted at the presidential palace in Manila Dec. 12 that he "personally" killed drug suspects when he was mayor of Davao City. Bizarrely, this boast came as he argued that the thousands of victims of his drug war have been killed in legitimate police operations. The quote (apparently cleaned up from his choppy verbatim) is reported in the Philippines Inquirer: "I know because...I used to do it personally. Just to show to the [police officers] that if I can do it, why can't you? ...I go around in Davao [on] a big bike and I would just patrol the streets and looking for trouble. [Sic] I was really looking for an encounter to kill."

Philippines: Duterte says Trump approves bloody drug war

Posted on December 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 3 said that US president-elect Donald Trump has endorsed his bloody anti-drug crackdown—which has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives since he took office in June. A statement release by Duterte's office, the president said: "He understood the way we are handling it and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country." He called the conversation "very encouraging, in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country... He wishes me well...in my campaign, and said that...we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way." The statement added that Trump was "quite sensitive...to our worry about drugs."

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