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James Taylor axes show over Duterte policy

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016

US singer-songwriter James Taylor has cancelled a concert in Manila next year due to the Philippine president's bloody anti-drugs campaign.

"I don't think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand," said the 68-year-old singer in a post on Facebook announcing the cancelation of the February show.

Taylor, who was a heroin addict in his youth, condemned the violent steps taken by President Rodrigo Duterte against drug addicts and traffickers that have already claimed more than 6,000 lives in less than six months.

"Recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law," added Taylor.

According to official figures, 2000 people have been killed in police operations and by vigilante groups in Duterte's war against drugs.

The United Nations, the European Union and several human rights organisations have repeatedly criticised the human rights violations associated with the aggressive campaign.

However, the criticism has not been able to dent the popularity of Duterte, who received an approval rating of 63 per cent in a poll published last week by Social Weather Stations, one of the most credible survey agencies in the Philippines.

Taylor said drug addiction "is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society," and stressed that the fight should continue in accordance with the law.

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