An Open Letter to Apple CEO Mr. Tim Cook:

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

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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:
Philippines: Abusive ‘Drug War’ Targets Children: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/09/philippines-abusive-drug-war-targets-children
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
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
The Philippines’ Duterte Incites Vigilante Violence: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/04/19/philippines-duterte-incites-vigilante-violence
“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
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
Philippines: Duterte Threatens Human Rights Community: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/17/philippines-duterte-threatens-human-rights-community
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/
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
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
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
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
45 UNHRC members call for end to killings: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/12/1699064/45-unhrc-members-call-end-killings
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
‘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
4Front Advisors, USA
A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing), USA
Aafno Nepal
Access to Rights and Knowledge (ARK) Foundation, India
Acción Semilla, Bolivia
Acción Técnica Social, Bogota, Colombia
Advocacy, Research, Training and Services (ARTS) Foundation, Pakistan
AFEW International, Netherlands
Asia Catalyst, USA
Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), Thailand
Asia Pacific Transgender Network, Thailand
Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD), Thailand
Association for Promotion sustainable development, India
Assocition National de Soutien aux Seropositifs et malades du Sida (ANSS), Burundi
Bangladesh Apparels Workers Federation -BAWF, Bangladesh
Belangenvereniging Druggebruikers MDHG, Netherlands
Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, USA
BOOM!Health, USA
Bright Future Drug and Alcohol Treatment & Rehabilitation Center, Nepal
Broken No More, USA
CACTUS Montreal, Canada
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canada
Child Justice League Inc., Philippines
Coalition des organismes communautaires québécois de lutte contre le sida (COCQ-SIDA), Canada
Coalition of Drug Users in Nepal
Coalition Plus, UK
Correlation Network – European Network Social Inclusion & Health, Netherlands
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats Secretariat, Philippines
Delhi Drug Users Forum, India
Denver Relief Consulting, USA
Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network, Nigeria
Drug Policy and Harm Reduction Platform in Malawi
Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, USA
društvo AREAL, Slovania
Empire State NORML, USA
Empower India
EPSD Estudiantes por una Política Sensata de Drogas, México
Eurasian Network Of People Who Use Drugs, Lithuania
FAAAT.net (Foundation for Alternative Approaches to Addiction, Think & do tank), France
Family Council on Drug Awareness, USA
Fedito Bxl (Fédération bruxelloise des Institutions pour Toxicomanes), Belgium
Films4Peace Foundation, Bangladesh
Forum Droghe, Italy
Foundation for Women, Thailand
Fuoriluogo.it, Italy
Gateway Foundation Nepal
Gaurav, India
Golden Gate University School of Law SSDP, USA
Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS), India
GRASP: Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing, USA
Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos (GAT), Portugal
Harm Reduction Australia
Harm Reduction Coalition, USA
Harm Reduction International, UK
Harm Reduction Michigan, USA
Health GAP, USA
Help Not Handcuffs, Inc., USA
Housing Works, USA
Human Rights and the Drug War, USA
Human Rights Focus Pakistan
ICEERS Foundation, Netherlands
India HIV/AIDS Alliance, India
Indian Drug Users Forum, India
Institute for Inner Balance, USA
Integrated Bar of the Philippines – National Center for Legal Aid, Philippines
Intercambios Civil Association, Argentina
International community of women living with HIV in Asia Pacific, Thailand
International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), UK
International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK
International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), UK
Jewish Social Policy Action Network, USA
John Mordaunt Trust, UK
KHANA, Cambodia
KORSANG, Cambodia
Kripa Foundation Nagaland, India
La Società della Ragione ONLUS, Italy
Latin American Network of People who Use Drugs
Latinoamerica Reforma, Chile
LatinoJustice PRLDEF, USA
LUBIS – Indonesian Legal Roundtable, Indonesia
Marijuana Policy Project, USA
MARUAH, Singapore
Moms United to End the War on Drugs, USA
mumsDU — moms united and mandated to saving the lives of Drug Users, USA
Nagaland Users’ Network, India
National Council of Churches, USA
National CSO Platform for Climate Change and REDD+ in Vanuatu
National Users Network of Nepal
North American Network of People who Use Drugs, Canada
The NSW Users and AIDS Association, Australia
Observatorio Global de cultivos y cultivadores declarados ilícitos, Colombia
Pasifika Network of People who Use Drugs
Penington Institute, Australia
PILS (Prevention Information et lutte contre le sida), Mauritius
Portail VIH/sida du Québec, Canada
Positive Women Inc., New Zealand
Prarambha Treatment and Rehabilitation center, Nepal
Project Inform, USA
Queensland Injectors Voice Advocacy and Action (QuIVAA), Australia
Rainbow Pride Foundation, Fiji
Recovering Nepal
Release | Drugs, The Law & Human Rights, UK
Richmond Fellowship Nepal
Romanian Association Against Aids (ARAS), Romania
Saathi samuha, Nepal
Safe Streets Arts Foundation, USA
Savisthri National Women’s Movement of Sri Lanka
Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource centre, Pakistan
Social Awareness Service Organisation (SASO), India
Sonoran Prevention Works, USA
St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, USA
StoptheDrugWar.org, USA
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, USA
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Australia
Suruwat, India
The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, USA
The Cannabis Alliance, USA
The Theater Offensive, USA
TLF Share Collective, Inc, Philippines
Transform Drug Policy Foundation, UK
Trystereo/New Orleans Harm Reduction Network, USA
UDYAMA, India
Uganda Harm Reduction Network, Uganda
Vicente Sederberg LLC, USA
Women and the Harm Reduction International Network
Women’s Coalition Against Cancer in Malawi
Youth Association for Development (YAD) Pakistan
Youth LEAD, Thailand
Youth Peer Education Network Pilipinas, Inc., Philippines
Youth RISE, UK
Youth Voices Count, Thailand