Statement on the European Parliament resolution on the situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa (2020/2782(RSP))
PAHRA welcomes the "European Parliament resolution on the situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa" which demands that the Philippines respect human rights. The Resolution includes a stern reminder that the tariff-free access to the EU market under the EU GSP+ shall be suspended unless the situation dramatically improves.
We appreciate the overwhelming support of the members of the European Parliament from all across the entire political spectrum (Conservatives, Christian Democrats, Socialists and Progressives, Environmentalists, and Liberals), with 91.70% (652 votes) in favour of the Resolution, a paltry 7 against and only 52 abstention.
Since 2016 Labor rights activists, human rights advocates, and other CSO's have been monitoring the compliance of this Administration with respect to the human rights conditionalities of the EU GSP+, which provides that continued tariff-free access to the EU market may continue only if the Philippines respect 27 UN Conventions on human rights, labor rights, the environment, and good governance. Clearly, this Administration wants to benefit from GSP+ but is nowhere close to abiding by its commitment and has in fact been falsely claiming that it is exerting efforts to comply.
Tragically, there is even a 50% increase in EJKs since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is our hope then that the European Commission will act in accordance with the Resolution of the European Parliament and make it absolutely clear to the Philippine Government that the suspension of the EU GSP+ is imminent, unless the government goes beyond mere rhetorics, promises, and even outright lies with respect to its human rights obligation.
Moreover, we are grateful for the call of the European Parliament on the Philippines to adopt and implement all the recommendations in the report on the Philippines by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of June 2020.
Moreover, we thank the European Parliament for reiterating its call for this Administration to "drop all politically motivated charges against Senator Leila de Lima, to release her while she awaits trial, to allow her to freely exercise her rights and duties as an elected representative."
Finally, we would like to highlight that the Resolution also calls for a stop in the persecution of Maria Ressa, Reynaldo Santos, and other journalists, and the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN.###
September 18, 2020