Dear Honourable Chairperson Deloso-Montalla,
The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) writes this Open Letter to the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights in the Philippines to emphasise the importance of enacting provisions to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) under the domestic legal framework.
Providing protection to HRDs under the national legal framework is necessary to protect those that are targeted for their legitimate human rights work. From January 2017 to July 2018, FORUM-ASIA documented 40 emblematic cases of attacks, intimidation and harassment against defenders in the Philippines. Among these cases, 18 were killings of HRDs – mostly journalists, and land and environmental rights defenders. Perpetrators are often not brought to account, and impunity of security forces is prevailing in the country.