The Philippines is experiencing the worst human rights crisis since the Martial Law era according to the Human Rights Watch. The president’s campaign against drugs have led to a staggering number of drug-related killings, estimated by government to be at 5,500, and with rights groups estimating the number can be as high as 27,000 – including those killed by masked vigilantes.
The blatant disregard for human rights in the country have led to a culture of impunity and has emboldened more violence and human rights abuses. Politically motivated killings of labor leaders, environmentalists, journalists and human rights defenders have been on the rise, with the Philippines consistently ranking most dangerous country for civilians, journalists and human rights defenders.
The UN Human Rights Council on 12 July 2019 approved a resolution led by Iceland, along with 27 other countries, calling on UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet to write a comprehensive report on the human rights crisis in the Philippines within a year. The resolution was passed in recognition that national institutions have failed to investigate and ensure accountability for the staggering levels of human rights abuses.
The legal sytems and conditions in place have failed in exacting accountability and addressing the extra-judical killings (EJKs), while legal acrobatics have been used to persecute opposition leaders, rights groups, media organizations and individuals in an effort to silence any dissent to the government’s anti‐human rights policies. Some notable cases include the imprisonment of opposition senator Leila De Lima who has been in jail for over 900 days at present, the unconstitutional removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno, to the multiple cases filed against, and subsequent arrests of journalist Maria Ressa.
Most recently, the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP‐CIDG) filed a sedition case against Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of one of Socdem Asia’s founding member organizations, along with Vice President Robredo and 36 other opposition and civil society leaders.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia demand the Philippine government to immediately put a stop to the bloody “war on drugs”, exact accountability on the massive killings under the current administration and heed calls from the international community for a meaningful investigation into the current human rights crisis.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia support the resolution sponsored by Iceland, adopted by the UN HRC and the subsequent by the UN to probe on the human rights abuses in the Philippines.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia condemn the trumped‐up sedition cases against Akbayan Senator Risa Hontivoros and other opposition and civil society leaders as another effort to cripple the opposition and silence those critical of the government.
Progressive Alliance and SocDem Asia stand in solidarity with the Filipino people, especially those targeted by Duterte’s war on drugs and political persecution, and joins the international community in shedding light and calling for justice on the worsening human rights crisis in the Philippines.