Geneva, Mexico, Manila, 6 February 2018 (OMCT) – To halt populism’s overturning of human rights protections, the world’s largest anti-torture network today rallied partners on three continents to launch joint efforts to boost compliance with international standards, bring more cases to justice, and find ways to better protect those most vulnerable to abuse.
The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in coordination with three key partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America, is spearheading the 1.8-million-CHF project dubbed “Civil Society United Against Torture” to run activities in 40 countries over three years until 2020. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the European Union are supporting the project.
The attack against the media is an affront to press freedom.
The decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke Rappler's registration for allegedly violating the constitutional restrictions on ownership and control of mass media entities is a blatant effort to silence the media for its critical reporting against the government.
The SEC’s kill order against Rappler came as no surprise. Since last year, President Rodrigo Duterte already accused Rappler of being fully owned by American companies and threatened to investigate its ownership during his 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA). It was not the first time that Duterte tried to arm twist the media he felt uncomfortable with. The Inquirer first took the beating when the Prietos were forced to sell their ownership to Dominguez – a known ally of the President. Duterte has also attacked the ABS-CBN for allegedly failing to air his campaign ads, and for reporting allegations on his bank accounts. He even blackmailed to revoke its license if the network will not help promote his campaign to shift to a federal form of government.
The In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) condemn in the strongest terms – the continuing attack against human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Philippines which is now compounded by the Duterte administration’s anti-human rights policies and actions that are creating a more hostile environment for human rights work.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in many instances has repeatedly threatened to kill human rights defenders who are criticizing his bloody “war on drugs” that already claimed more than 13,000 deaths including innocent civilians and children. By recently declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as “terrorists” and by ordering the immediate arrest, not only of armed rebels, but also of all members of the "legal fronts" supporting them, he just made an open season for further attack against the human rights defenders.