Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
New York, NY – Last week, at Drug Policy Alliance’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference, attendees from 51 countries protested the thousands of brutal killings that have taken place in the Philippines in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, gathering under cultural collective RESBAK’s iconic ‘Stop the Killings’ banner in a united show of opposition.
“With the world watching, we felt compelled to use our platform to draw attention to the horrendous crimes taking place every day in the Philippines, with the full-throated support of that country’s president,” said Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “The Philippines is a stark example of how the drug war can so easily serve as an excuse for targeting vulnerable people, and harassing critics, and punishing opponents.”
The banner, which has travelled the world to spread awareness of Duterte’s barbaric human rights violations and advocate for change, stands nearly 30 feet long with the letters of the text made of thousands of black mourning pins. Traditionally worn in the Philippines after the deaths of a family member, the pins represent the tens of thousands of lives lost since June 2016, when Duterte took office.
The group of Philippines journalists, photographers and videographers known as the Nightcrawlers, represented by Basilio Sepe, were also recognized at the event with The Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Media.
“It was an honor to give the Brecher Award to the Nightcrawlers, a group of journalists brave enough to risk everything and go out night after night to document these killings that have taken place in the name of the drug war. Through their courageous actions, they have given a voice to the voiceless,” McFarland added.