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.