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Duterte’s Drug War Has Now Killed At Least 54 Children

The violence continues.
Friends and relatives of Ephraim Escudero, 18, who was apparently killed execution-style north of Manila, carry his coffin during his funeral in San Pedro city, south of Manila, Philippines. Photo by Bullit Marquez/Associated Press

This article originally appeared on VICE News.

A human rights group urged the UN Monday to take decisive action against Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs after two children were deliberately targeted by Philippine police for extrajudicial executions last month.

Some 54 children have been killed during Duterte's violent campaign, which began soon after he became president in June 2016.

Highlighting the need for a UN inquiry into the violence, Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said the "willingness of Philippine police to deliberately target children for execution marks an appalling new level of depravity in this so-called drug war."

"Until Duterte ends his abusive drug war and allows a UN-led international probe, child-killers among the police will continue to get away with murder," he added.

On August 18, 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman was stabbed at least 30 times after his assailants wrapped his head in packing tape — a gruesome hallmark of Duterte's war on drugs.

Two days earlier, anti-drug officers in Caloocan City killed 17-year-old Kian delos Santos.

Authorities claim Santos fired first, but witnesses and CCTV footage suggest the police executed the unarmed teen while he was in custody. His body was later dumped in an alley.