What international organisations say about human rights in the Philippines

On 18 July 2023, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”), confirmed the authorization for the ICC Prosecutor to resume its investigations of the crime against humanity of murder in the Republic of the Philippines.  The Court dismissed the Philippines ground of appeal that the Court cannot exercise its jurisdiction over the Philippines situation because the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute.  This was the final avenue of appeal for the Marcos-Duterte government in their attempt to evade prosecution for crimes against humanity.”

ICHRP synopsis (Press Release July 19, 2023) of ICC Press Release: 18 July 2023

“In the Philippines, the criminalisation of activists through a sinister tactic known as ‘red-tagging’ is often used to intimidate, defame, and vilify legitimate activists for their work.”

Global Witness Statement, London, 12th July 2023

“President Marcos needs to do more than issue statements about democracy and the rule of law to demonstrate a genuine commitment to human rights,” said Bryony Lau, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Without concrete action to break old patterns of abuses and secure accountability for past crimes, his words have little credibility.”

Human Rights Watch, New York, 28th June 2023

“UN experts* today expressed “grave disappointment” after a Philippine court denied bail to former senator Leila de Lima, prolonging her six-year detention even after key witnesses withdrew evidence against her.”
“We have long called for the immediate release of Leila de Lima,” the experts said. “The decision to deny bail comes after more than six years of arbitrary detention. It is high time for the administration of President Marcos Jr. to close this case once and for all, provide compensation and other reparations, and investigate the circumstances that allowed this to happen in the first place.”

UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Statement, Generva, 16 June 2023

“The world should be worried about the Marcos government
bombing its own people.”

Global Indigenous Peoples organization PRESS RELEASE March 22, 2023

“Indigenous Peoples are common victims in the implementation of the counterinsurgency program [in the Philippines]. Indigenous organizations, communities, and IP rights defenders are being targeted, red-tagged and criminalized as communist fronts. Many indigenous leaders are vilified as terrorists through social media accounts of police and military units.”

Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) 41 st Session of the Universal Periodic Review,
7-18 November 2022

“The Philippine Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch, a network of faith-based and human rights groups engaging in the UN UPR process, takes strong exception to the incredible remarks of Philippine Department of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla at the
United Nations Human Rights Committee on red-tagging as a “part of democracy”.  We enjoin members of the UN Human Rights Committee and the international community to denounce red-tagging because it has no place in a democratic and civilized society.”

PH UPR WATCH – Press Statement 13 October 2022

The Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) stands in solidarity with Lumad and all Indigenous Peoples who are continuously subjected to criminalization, killings, and unabated attacks in the Philippines.

‘End the worsening criminalization of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines’ 
IPRI Statement 02-19-2021

“Threats and attacks, including killings, against left-wing political activists, environmental activists, community leaders, Indigenous peoples’ leaders, journalists, lawyers, and others rose in the past year. The government harassed journalists and media companies, including through politically motivated prosecutions and other legal action”

Human Rights Watch World Report 2021

“Civil society activists who speak out against this situation are labelled terrorists or communists, and face harassment, threats, and in some cases – death. Indigenous communities have been particularly targeted, and even the churches have not been spared. “

Peter Prove, World Council of Churches Director for International Affairs, October 2020

“Shockingly, over half of all reported killings last year occurred in just two countries: Colombia (peaking at 64) and the Philippines
(rising from 30 in 2018 to 43 in 2019).

Global Witness Annual Report on the murders of environmental defenders, July 2020

“In the ITUC (International Trade Union Council) Report of 2020, the Philippines is included in the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world for workers. The Philippine trade union movement can attest to the alarming level of repression of workers’ rights in the country. There have been too many unexplained disappearances and killings of labor leaders and members.”

Statement of the Council of Global Unions, July 2020.

“Since the Government launched its campaign against illegal drugs in 2016, official figures indicate that at least 8,663 people have been killed, with some estimates putting the real toll at more than triple that number. The UN Human Rights Office has also documented that, between 2015 and 2019, at least 248 human rights defenders, legal professionals, journalists and trade unionists have been killed in relation to their work.”

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, June 2020