CHRP statement condemning the dispersal of protest action at US Embassy in the Philippines

21 October 2016

The UK Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines strongly condemns the extremely violent dispersal of protesters by police outside of the US Embassy in Manila on 19 October. Together with most of the world, we watched in horror as a police van rammed several times into the peaceful protesters, and uniformed police used their batons to strike at the civilians and their vehicles. Video footage from numerous local and foreign news agencies caught the brutality committed against the Philippine protesters (see: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/827774/police-van-rams-protesters-disperses-rally-at-us-embassy).

The assembly in front of the US Embassy on Wednesday was a legitimate protest, featuring a large contingent of indigenous peoples, on the unequal relations between the Philippines and the US and the continuing presence of US military troops in the Philippines. As we understand it, the program of cultural performances and speeches was already winding down when the police started their violent attacks.

These actions by uniformed State agents are patent violations of the peoples’ rights to peaceful assembly and free speech. The brutality by which their rights were violated constitutes a criminal act which cannot be justified. Officials who took part in or ordered these brutal acts on their own citizens should be held liable to the full extent of the law.

We condemn the subsequent statements of the Manila police who have tried to justify these heinous actions by placing the blame on the protesters who were exercising their right to peaceful protest.

We call on President Duterte, and the Director General of the Philippine National Police Ronald M. de la Rosa, to immediately suspend and file administrative charges against all the official personnel involved in violating the human rights of those affected.

This is an attack on a nation fighting for their sovereignty against foreign intervention and plunder. We call on the global community to join us in condemning these acts of brutality, and in strengthening our unity with the Filipino people in their continuing fight for national and social liberation and a just and lasting peace. ###