Due to the COVID pandemic all CHRP meetings have been held using Zoom. By using remote meetings, however, CHRP members living outside London have been able to actively participate in a way that was not the case before. This is therefore likely to remain our main way of holding CHRP business meetings.
In 2021 the Philippines Government stepped up its attacks on the progressive movement in the Philippines with increased red-tagging and more killings of journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and others. Much international attention focused on Maria Ressa, the editor of Rappler being found guilty of cyber libel. In November, Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2022 presidential elections will be held. Among other candidates from the traditional political elite, President Duterte’s daughter Sarah is standing on a joint ticket with the son of President Marcos.
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
ICHRP Europe was launched on 22 January. Gerry Reardan CHRP Vice Chair is our representative to ICHRP Europe. CHRP has participated in two ICHRP-Europe Zoom meetings during 2021.
In September 2020 the United Nations Human Rights Council held back from launching an investigation against the Duterte Government after they were given assurances that the Philippines Government was taking action to improve domestic redress against human rights abuses. Shortly afterward an independent commission, involving prominent international politicians and lawyers, coordinated by ICHRP launched its own investigation which produced three reports documenting how the human rights situation had deteriorated in the twelve months following September 2020. Their findings were presented to the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.
On 26 November, CHRP joined ICHRP in sending a letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan, urging him to resume the paused investigations into crimes against humanity by the government of President Duterte.
On 26 February 2021, a joint webinar event called Defending Democracy in the Philippines was jointly organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group, the GB Section of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and CHRP. The event was chaired by the Right Hon Dame Diana Johnson MP and marked the fourth anniversary of Senator de Lima’s imprisonment by the Duterte Government, and heard from a number of speakers, including Philip Sawali, Senator De Lima’s Chief of Staff; Congresswoman Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela Women’s Party; and former congressman Satur Ocampo. There was a video message sent to the event from Congresswoman Sarah Elago.
Following the webinar event, 27 Members of Parliament wrote a joint letter to the Philippine embassy demanding the immediate release of Senator de Lima.
The Bishop of Southwark asked a parliamentary question on human rights in the Philippines on behalf CHRP. A webinar event is currently being organised which will focus on human rights violations against church leaders in the Philippines.
Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office
CHRP has continued to raise human rights issues in an ongoing dialogue with the FCDO. As well as the key civil servants responsible for implementing UK Government policy in the Philippines these now involve UK embassy staff in Manila responsible for human rights. Karapatan is now one of the organisations consulted by the UK embassy.
on human rights issues. A primary focus of these meetings has been UK arms exports and counter-insurgency cooperation with the Philippines, along with UK Government’s proclaimed commitment to media freedom in the Philippines.
A sizeable CHRP delegation travelled to COP26 protest events held in London and Glasgow in November. A number of delegates from Youth Advocates from Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) ACAP and the Centre for Environmental Concerns attended from the Philippines. Through their participation, the environmental emergency in the Philippines was given particularly good exposure by the mainstream news media in this global environmental debate.
CHRP supported a workshop on the environmental threats in the Philippines held in London led by Jon Bonifacio of YACAP and [dialling in] Reywynx Morgado of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, which was organised by Anakbayan on 29 October just prior to COP 26.
CHRP supported a pre-COP Defund Climate Chaos demonstration at Standard Chartered, as well as a later workshop on the environmental threats in the Philippines held in London.
CHRP supported an event sharing the experience of environmental defenders in the Philippines and Indonesia. Speakers were: Triana Kurnia Wardani, chairperson of Indonesian Women’s Organisation (Seruni Serikat Perempu) and International Coordinating Committee Member of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle at the Filipino Chaplaincy on 13 November.
Anniversary of Martial Law
CHRP joined Anakbayan, Gabriela, Kanlungan and FDWA in an event held at the Filipino Chaplaincy on Sunday 19 September marking the 49th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by Ferdinand Marcos.
International Human Rights Day
CHRP joined other Filipino organisations at a picket in Trafalgar Square marking International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
CHRP website relaunch
After a period of redevelopment CHRP has relaunched its website and used it for the first time as an electronic campaigning tool in the run up to International Human Rights Day.
Dara Bascara Trust
Last February we were hit by the tragic death of one of our most active and dedicated CHRP members, Dara Bascara. A number of events were held to celebrate her activism and commitment to the struggle for justice and democracy in the Philippines. A Dara Bascara Trust was also set up which aims to support Lumad schools in the Philippines a project of solidarity that Dara was very committed to. The Trust has just gained charitable status.
Wanted – a CHRP chairperson
Father Salvador Telen resigned as chairperson of CHRP due to an overload of other commitments. We thank Father Salvador for fulfilling this role for us even while we knew he was very busy. We are now looking for someone to step forward to be our new CHRP chairperson. Please let us know your interest.