The United Kingdom’s agreement to supply military equipment for “urban warfare” and “cybersecurity” to the Philippines has raised concerns it will be used in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
According to a report posted online by the UK-based progressive media outfit The New Statesman, British and Philippine officials signed the memorandum on defense cooperation six months after International Trade Secretary Liam Fox hailed the “shared values” between the two countries in a visit to Manila in April 2017.
The article, dated May 11, quoted Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle as saying that UK’s offer “raised serious questions about the [UK] government’s application of the arms export control law.”
“These laws should stop the approval of this class of surveillance equipment to a country whose leader is under investigation by the International Criminal Court for a ‘war on drugs.’ This is not about locking up drug addicts. It is about the state killing sick people in the streets, without trial. The government faces not only a moral but a legal question: it is illegal under British law to approve sales of tools that could be used got internal repression,” said Russell-Moyle, a member of the parliamentary committees on arms export controls.
President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn international criticism for the bloody war on drugs, which human rights groups claim has led to the deaths of over 12,000 people since he assumed office in June 2016.
Under UK law, the British government should refuse sales of military equipment if “there is a clear risk that the items might be used for internal repression.”