Call for Sign On – Letter to Apple Inc.

Immediately remove apps that are promoting murder, extrajudicial killings, violence, and the war on drugs in the Philippines.

The Petition has ended.

Thank you everyone for supporting the letter.

Sign-On the Letter

131

Organizations have signed the letter

  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

Mr. Tim Cook

Chief Executive Officer

Apple Incorporation

Re: Immediately remove apps that are promoting murder, extrajudicial killings, violence, and the war on drugs in the Philippines.

We, the undersigned, bring to your attention numerous apps, which actively promote and endorse violence and killings of marginalized communities of people who use drugs. As organizations and networks representing these communities, we find these depictions and promotions extremely shocking, especially given their divergence from Apple’s strict guidelines that pertain to your apps. Where Apple is a staunch proponent of human values, community and connectedness, your promoting, through the App store, of the killing of people who use drugs is in clear contradiction of your values as an organization.

Specifically, numerous apps 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[1] – 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 as ‘War on Poor’ has brought destruction of millions of lives of people who use drugs, including thousands who are imprisoned under inhumane conditions, their families and children who were already the most marginalized in and vulnerable to the Philippines system.

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.”[2]

The atrocities occurring in the Philippines are widely known, but bear repeating: as you probably know, Duterte has repeatedly incited the public and Filipino police to murder any people suspected of any drug offences[3] with impunity and has given a clear ‘license to kill’[4]. Recently, his war on people who use drugs hit a new level of brutality in the killing of 32 people in just one night of August[5], targeting impoverished people, young people, and students, and has recently given a clear order to his authorities to shoot human rights activists[6]. His message is clear: drug users are subhuman, they are zombies, and they do not have the right to life.

To reiterate, numerous apps, including those in the picture below actively promote these atrocities occurring in the Philippines. These games valorize and normalize the emerging tyranny of Duterte’s presidency and his government’s disregard for human rights principles. In virtual reality these games may seem harmless and fun, but when they are placed within the context of existing realities, of real murders of people and the impunity of law enforcement, then these games become offensive and distasteful.

 

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’:[7]

  • “Defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national/ethnic origin, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to humiliate, intimidate, or place a targeted individual or group in harm’s way. Professional political satirists and humorists are generally exempt from this requirement.
  • Realistic portrayals of people or animals being killed, maimed, tortured, or abused, or content that encourages violence. “Enemies” within the context of a game cannot solely target a specific race, culture, real government, corporation, or any other real entity.”

Mr. Cook, Duterte’s war on people who use drugs in the Philippines has been condemned by United Nations[8],[9],[10], International Criminal Court (ICC)[11], over 45 country governments[12] and over 375 community and civil society organizations globally[13]. Already 2 cases have been filed against him at the ICC[14]. It is entirely inappropriate for Apple to be promoting the actions, policies and discourses of a politician and state that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people. It is also entirely incongruous with Apple’s progressive and inclusive philosophies. It is unacceptable that Apple is tolerant to making profit out of people’s unjust deaths and misery. We can only conclude that Apple is not aware that these apps are available in your store.

Therefore, we urgently request a formal review of the apps made available by Apple, and demand that you remove all the above-mentioned games immediately and issue an apology for hosting such insensitive content.

Yours,

[YOUR ORGANIZATION’S NAME WILL BE INSERTED HERE]

References:

[1] 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

[2] 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] The Philippines’ Duterte Incites Vigilante Violence: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/04/19/philippines-duterte-incites-vigilante-violence

[4] “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

[5] 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

[6] Philippines: Duterte Threatens Human Rights Community: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/17/philippines-duterte-threatens-human-rights-community

[7] App Store Review Guidelines: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/

[8] 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

[9] 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

[10] 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

[11] 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

[12] 45 UNHRC members call for end to killings: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/12/1699064/45-unhrc-members-call-end-killings

[13] 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

[14] ‘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

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