PUBLISHED ON September 7, 2018
Consistent with its earlier calls to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to rethink the War on Drugs, upholding its abiding commitment to human rights and the social democratic and socialist values of freedom, justice and solidarity, and noting with alarm further evidence of democratic backsliding such as the unilateral withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court and the successful removal of a Chief Justice perceived to be critical of the Philippine President, the Progressive Alliance further urges the Philippine government to:
- Reconsider its decision to unilaterally withdraw from the International Criminal Court – not only because such withdrawal will have no effect on the jurisdiction of the ICC to investigate President Duterte for acts committed during the period of the country’s membership in the Court, but because the ICC is a product and pillar of the community of nations’ commitment to human rights, humanitarian law and transitional justice;
- Ensure that domestic processes to investigate against atrocity crimes remain credible and effective, including but not limited to a capacitated, well-funded Commission on Human Rights and an independent Ombudsman;
- Imbue members of the security sector with a human rights lens, ensure that investigations and penalties on errant police officers and members of the military sufficiently disincentivize atrocities, and in particular, rescind the plum promotions given to policemen implicated in the death of Kian de los Santos, a 17-year-old boy during anti-drug operations;
- Commit itself to the rule of law and to an independent judiciary, particularly to an independent Supreme Court that will not simply rubberstamp executive action, but will serve as an effective check against executive overreach and gross human rights abuses;
- Create an environment conducive to debate and free speech, instead of an environment that stifles dissent, and ensure that critics of the government do not have to pay with their lives or with their liberty.