An Open Letter to Apple CEO Mr. Tim Cook:

Immediately remove apps that are promoting war on drugs in the Philippines.

MEDIA RELEASE

Bangkok (October 10, 2017) – The global community of civil society organizations (CSOs) have released an open letter to Mr. Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Apple Incorporation. In the letter, 131 organizations including human rights and drug policy reform groups have demanded Apple to immediately remove apps (games) that are promoting murder, extrajudicial killings, violence, and the war on drugs in the Philippines.


Numerous apps, including those in the image above, currently available through Apple are actively promoting the war on people who use drugs in the Philippines, a war that has resulted in the state-endorsed murders of more than 13,000 people – many of them children – ostensibly suspected of using or selling drugs since June 2016. Duterte’s war on people who use drugs, that is often referred to as a ‘War on the Poor’ has brought about the destruction of over a million lives of people who use drugs, including thousands who are imprisoned under inhumane conditions, their families and children who were already the most marginalized and vulnerable to the Philippines system.

“This is unacceptable, we are disappointed as well as offended having to witness such a disgusting attempt to normalize mass murders and impunity through virtual games available in the App store”, said Anand Chabungbam, Regional Coordinator of the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD). “If Apple truly promotes human values [as they claim] then they will be responsive to our call and remove these apps immediately because these apps also violate their App Store Review Guidelines”, he added.

These games came into public attention amid national and global efforts to stop the killings and bring President Duterte to justice for the thousands of lives lost in the Philippines. Such efforts include thousands of Filipinos protesting in the streets, statements from several United Nations agencies, cases filed in the International Criminal Court (ICC), denounced by over 45 country governments and over 375 community and civil society organizations globally.

May it be carelessness or a conscious profiteering decision made by Apple, it is entirely inappropriate for Apple to be promoting the war that have resulted in thousands of human lives being lost. The open letter appeals to Mr. Cook to:

undertake a formal review of the apps made available by Apple.

remove all the apps immediately.

issue an apology for hosting such insensitive content.

Read the Open Letter:

Some important links:

  1. Philippines: Abusive ‘Drug War’ Targets Children: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/09/philippines-abusive-drug-war-targets-children
  2. On the Human Rights Council 36th session, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in his statement said, “In the Philippines, I continue to be gravely concerned by the President’s open support for a shoot-to-kill policy regarding suspects, as well as by the apparent absence of credible investigations into reports of thousands of extrajudicial killings, and the failure to prosecute any perpetrator.”– Darker and more dangerous: High Commissioner updates the Human Rights Council on human rights issues in 40 countries – Human Rights Council 36th session, Opening Statement by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Media.aspx?IsMediaPage=true
  3. Thousands demand end to killings in Duterte’s drug war: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/thousands-demand-killings-duterte-drug-war-170821124440845.html
  4. The Philippines’ Duterte Incites Vigilante Violence: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/04/19/philippines-duterte-incites-vigilante-violence
  5. “License to Kill” Philippine Police Killings in Duterte’s “War on Drugs”: https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/03/02/license-kill/philippine-police-killings-dutertes-war-drugs
  6. Philippine police kill 32 in bloodiest night of Duterte’s war on drugs: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/16/philippines-police-bloodiest-night-duterte-war-drugs
  7. Philippines: Duterte Threatens Human Rights Community: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/17/philippines-duterte-threatens-human-rights-community
  8. These games clearly violate the App Store Review Guidelines that explicitly mention following points as objectionable content under the very first section related to ‘Safety’: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/
  9. Secretary-General’s remarks at the UN Correspondents Association Reception: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2016-06-08/secretary-generals-remarks-un-correspondents-association-reception
  10. Statement by the UNODC Executive Director on the situation in the Philippines: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2016/August/statement-by-the-unodc-executive-director-on-the-situation-in-the-philippines.html
  11. INCB expresses concern about reports of violence against persons suspected of drug-related crime and drug use in the Philippines: https://www.incb.org/incb/en/news/press-releases/2016/press_release030816.html
  12. Int’l Criminal Court chief prosecutor warns PH over drug killings: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2016/10/14/Intl-Criminal-Court-chief-prosecutor-warns-PH-over-drug-killings.html
  13. 45 UNHRC members call for end to killings: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/12/1699064/45-unhrc-members-call-end-killings
  14. Over 300 NGOs call on the United Nations to take immediate action on the hundreds of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines: http://idpc.net/media/press-releases/2016/08/over-300-ngos-call-on-the-united-nations-to-take-immediate-action-on-the-hundreds-of-extrajudicial-killings-of-suspected-drug-offenders-in-the-philippines
  15. ‘Mass murder’ complaint filed against Philippines’ President Duterte at ICC: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/25/mass-complaint-launched-against-philippines-president-duterte-at-icc

List of Supporting Organizations

  1. 4Front Advisors, USA
  2. A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing), USA
  3. Aafno Nepal
  4. Access to Rights and Knowledge (ARK) Foundation, India
  5. Acción Semilla, Bolivia
  6. Acción Técnica Social, Bogota, Colombia
  7. Advocacy, Research, Training and Services (ARTS) Foundation, Pakistan
  8. AFEW International, Netherlands
  9. Asia Catalyst, USA
  10. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), Thailand
  11. Asia Pacific Transgender Network, Thailand
  12. Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD), Thailand
  13. Association for Promotion sustainable development, India
  14. Assocition National de Soutien aux Seropositifs et malades du Sida (ANSS), Burundi
  15. Bangladesh Apparels Workers Federation -BAWF, Bangladesh
  16. Belangenvereniging Druggebruikers MDHG, Netherlands
  17. Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, USA
  18. BOOM!Health, USA
  19. Bright Future Drug and Alcohol Treatment & Rehabilitation Center, Nepal
  20. Broken No More, USA
  21. CACTUS Montreal, Canada
  22. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canada
  23. Child Justice League Inc., Philippines
  24. Coalition des organismes communautaires québécois de lutte contre le sida (COCQ-SIDA), Canada
  25. Coalition of Drug Users in Nepal
  26. Coalition Plus, UK
  27. Correlation Network – European Network Social Inclusion & Health, Netherlands
  28. Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats Secretariat, Philippines
  29. Delhi Drug Users Forum, India
  30. Denver Relief Consulting, USA
  31. Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network, Nigeria
  32. Drug Policy and Harm Reduction Platform in Malawi
  33. Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, USA
  34. društvo AREAL, Slovania
  35. Empire State NORML, USA
  36. Empower India
  37. EPSD Estudiantes por una Política Sensata de Drogas, México
  38. Eurasian Network Of People Who Use Drugs, Lithuania
  39. FAAAT.net (Foundation for Alternative Approaches to Addiction, Think & do tank), France
  40. Family Council on Drug Awareness, USA
  41. Fedito Bxl (Fédération bruxelloise des Institutions pour Toxicomanes), Belgium
  42. Films4Peace Foundation, Bangladesh
  43. Forum Droghe, Italy
  44. Foundation for Women, Thailand
  45. Fuoriluogo.it, Italy
  46. Gateway Foundation Nepal
  47. Gaurav, India
  48. Golden Gate University School of Law SSDP, USA
  49. Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS), India
  50. GRASP: Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing, USA
  51. Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos (GAT), Portugal
  52. Harm Reduction Australia
  53. Harm Reduction Coalition, USA
  54. Harm Reduction International, UK
  55. Harm Reduction Michigan, USA
  56. Health GAP, USA
  57. Help Not Handcuffs, Inc., USA
  58. Housing Works, USA
  59. Human Rights and the Drug War, USA
  60. Human Rights Focus Pakistan
  61. ICEERS Foundation, Netherlands
  62. India HIV/AIDS Alliance, India
  63. Indian Drug Users Forum, India
  64. Institute for Inner Balance, USA
  65. Integrated Bar of the Philippines – National Center for Legal Aid, Philippines
  66. Intercambios Civil Association, Argentina
  67. International community of women living with HIV in Asia Pacific, Thailand
  68. International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), UK
  69. International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK
  70. International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), UK
  71. Jewish Social Policy Action Network, USA
  72. John Mordaunt Trust, UK
  73. KHANA, Cambodia
  74. KORSANG, Cambodia
  75. Kripa Foundation Nagaland, India
  76. La Società della Ragione ONLUS, Italy
  77. Latin American Network of People who Use Drugs
  78. Latinoamerica Reforma, Chile
  79. LatinoJustice PRLDEF, USA
  80. LUBIS – Indonesian Legal Roundtable, Indonesia
  81. Marijuana Policy Project, USA
  82. MARUAH, Singapore
  83. Moms United to End the War on Drugs, USA
  84. mumsDU — moms united and mandated to saving the lives of Drug Users, USA
  85. Nagaland Users’ Network, India
  86. National Council of Churches, USA
  87. National CSO Platform for Climate Change and REDD+ in Vanuatu
  88. National Users Network of Nepal
  89. North American Network of People who Use Drugs, Canada
  90. The NSW Users and AIDS Association, Australia
  91. Observatorio Global de cultivos y cultivadores declarados ilícitos, Colombia
  92. Pasifika Network of People who Use Drugs
  93. Penington Institute, Australia
  94. PILS (Prevention Information et lutte contre le sida), Mauritius
  95. Portail VIH/sida du Québec, Canada
  96. Positive Women Inc., New Zealand
  97. Prarambha Treatment and Rehabilitation center, Nepal
  98. Project Inform, USA
  99. Queensland Injectors Voice Advocacy and Action (QuIVAA), Australia
  100. Rainbow Pride Foundation, Fiji
  101. Recovering Nepal
  102. Release | Drugs, The Law & Human Rights, UK
  103. Richmond Fellowship Nepal
  104. Romanian Association Against Aids (ARAS), Romania
  105. Saathi samuha, Nepal
  106. Safe Streets Arts Foundation, USA
  107. Savisthri National Women’s Movement of Sri Lanka
  108. Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource centre, Pakistan
  109. Social Awareness Service Organisation (SASO), India
  110. Sonoran Prevention Works, USA
  111. St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, USA
  112. StoptheDrugWar.org, USA
  113. Students for Sensible Drug Policy, USA
  114. Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Australia
  115. Suruwat, India
  116. The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, USA
  117. The Cannabis Alliance, USA
  118. The Theater Offensive, USA
  119. TLF Share Collective, Inc, Philippines
  120. Transform Drug Policy Foundation, UK
  121. Trystereo/New Orleans Harm Reduction Network, USA
  122. UDYAMA, India
  123. Uganda Harm Reduction Network, Uganda
  124. Vicente Sederberg LLC, USA
  125. Women and the Harm Reduction International Network
  126. Women’s Coalition Against Cancer in Malawi
  127. Youth Association for Development (YAD) Pakistan
  128. Youth LEAD, Thailand
  129. Youth Peer Education Network Pilipinas, Inc., Philippines
  130. Youth RISE, UK
  131. Youth Voices Count, Thailand
Please direct your queries to:

Bikas Gurung

Communications and Program Officer – ANPUD

bikas@anpud.org

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