Extrajudicial killings in the Philippines show how prohibition has made a global problem far worse

While Rodrigo Duterte was campaigning to be elected president of the Philippines last year, he said on many occasions that he would arrange, if elected, for people who sold or used drugs to be killed. Extrajudicial killings began even before his inauguration, with victims usually shot and then drugs and guns planted to make it look like the assailants had acted in self-defence. A 77-page application last month by a lawyer, Jude Sabio – requesting the international criminal court to commence a preliminary investigation – estimated that at least 9,400 people have already been killed by police and vigilantes. According to Sabio, most of the victims were “poor young men, but also bystanders, children and political opponents”. The killings were briefly halted in January after police killed a South Korean businessman, but have since restarted.

Related: Philippines police plant evidence to justify killings in drug war, says report

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