10 December 2020, International Human Rights Day
The Philippines Human Rights Crisis
While COVID continues to spread leaving millions without jobs and livelihoods, and while
hundreds of families have been made homeless and destitute by a succession of recent
typhoons, President Duterte and his armed forces remain focused on crushing all forms of
protest and dissent in the Philippines.
2020 has been one of the worst years on records for human rights violations in the
Philippines. Despite the Covid 19 pandemic there has been little let up on the President’s
so-called “War On Drugs” with an estimated 30,000 extra-judicial killings since 2016. Attacks
on media freedom include the shutting down of the ABS-CBN TV network; the convictions of
Rappler editor Maria Ressa and writer Reynaldo Santos; and the murder of radio journalists
such as 62 yr old Virgilio Maganes shot dead outside his home last month (the 18th
journalist murdered since 2016).
Human rights defenders and lawyers are vilified by the Government as “terrorists” with their
names and photographs printed on posters and leaflets. They are arrested on trumped up
charges, they are murdered like peasant leader Randall Echanis or human rights worker
Zara Alvaris, or they are disappeared like human rights defender Honey Mae Suazo, missing
for over a year.
In July 2020 President Duterte passed the Anti Terrorism Act which provided his police and
military, who already enjoy almost total impunity, with increased powers to arrest and detain
without warrant those suspected of being “terrorists” using a definition of terrorism which will
extend to legitimate political opposition without difficulty.
CHRP marks International Human Rights Day with a call for all governments to recognise
the human rights crisis in the Philippines and the need to protect those courageously fighting
to defend democracy and human rights, and for them to put maximum international pressure
on the Philippines Government to respect international human rights standards.
For more information contact info@chrp.org.uk