President Duterte steadily marches towards authoritarian rule, with the Courts, the Executive branch and the Philippine Congress delivering one after the other, legislative, judicial and executive measures versus popular dissent and criticism. On February 10th Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a Quo Warranto petition before the Supreme Court seeking to forfeit the franchise of media corporation ABS CBN, and subsequently sought a gag order against any public discussion on the issue. On February 14th the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court issued a warrant of arrest against former Senator and opposition figure Antonio Trillanes and 10 others on charges of conspiracy to commit sedition.
Statement on International Human Rights Day 2019
December 10, 2019
December 10th is the 71st commemoration of International Human Rights Day. This year focuses on young human rights defenders all over the world, and the challenge of shrinking civic spaces in the Philippines.
The past couple of years marked an extraordinary rise of young people’s movements which call out injustice, corporate greed, violence and inequality. From climate and land issues to discrimination and disinformation, labor contractualization and extra-judicial killings, the youth’s boundless energy gave us inspiration to fight for a better world. The next generation of human rights defenders are front and center in the defense of our environment, sovereignty, economic sustainability, food security, gender equality, climate justice, speaking truth to power.
Quezon City- Human Rights defenders, members and network of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) held a “PROTESTART” this afternoon to condemn the burial of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on this date three years ago.
Rose Trajano, Secretary General of PAHRA and Convenor of iDEFEND said the “continuing impunity of the martial law atrocities is epitomized by this Marcos burial at the LNMB, and perpetuated by the successive dismissal of cases against the Marcos family. Despite the human rights claims awarded to thousands of victims of martial law, the Marcos family refused to acknowledge the atrocities on the Filipino people.”
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) condemn the recent raids of people’s organizations in Negros and in Manila as well as arrests of activists, as preventive actions against people’s dissent, as government policies continue to result in economic crises, social unrest, unmitigated disasters and political scandals.
These assaults on legitimate organizations are in pursuit of executive issuances and policy directives aimed at shrinking democratic spaces and political activism in the Philippines, in furtherance of President Duterte’s authoritarian ambitions to secure full dictatorship by his term’s end. Diminishing civic spaces, resources and opportunities suppress these organizations from freely exercising the right to assembly, association and expression.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) express serious concerns over alarming developments in the India-occupied region of Jammu and Kashmir. This month India’s government has repealed the Constitutional provision providing special status to Jammu and Kashmir amidst media and communications blockade and the deployment of more than 30,000 paramilitary troops. On the ground reports of arbitrary detention and house arrest of more than 500 human rights defenders have also jeopardized fundamental civil liberties and the freedom of expression.