against human rights violation under Duterte’s violent presidency
December 9, 2017
HONG KONG – The
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that
different human rights groups across the country will hold protests
and a series of other events tomorrow, December 10, to mark the
International Human Rights Day.
Today, the Alliance for
the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan), an alliance of human
rights NGOs and people’s organizations, holds demonstrations they
dubbed as “What’s cooking up in Malacanang?” Their protest is an
attempt to satirized President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown, not only
of his political opponents, but constitutional bodies with powers to
check his abuse.
In their statement,
Karapatan said President Duterte’s actions are recipes for a “full
blown dictatorship”, if he succeeds. One of these is Duterte and his
political ally’s ongoing action to impeach Philippine Supreme Court
chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Also today, the Philippine
Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Pahra), another alliance of
human rights groups, holds an "Alab ng Puso" concert, which aims to
encourage Filipinos to stand up and defend human rights. Pahra’s
partner organization, iDEFEND (In Defense of Human Rights and
Dignity Movement), said this event is meant to raise awareness on
the importance of human rights, freedom and justice, and to
Tomorrow, Pahra and its
partner organizations will hold protest actions in Metro Manila.
Protest actions will also be held in major cities in Luzon, the
Visayas and in Mindanao, including in Duterte’s hometown, Davao.
Pahra said these protests are meant to “counter the government’s
narratives of being pro-poor”. They are meant to amplify a public
outcry against human rights violations committed in the country.
Meanwhile, Karapatan’s satirized protest is a prelude to a much
bigger demonstration to mark the international human rights day,
inside and outside the country. Outside the capital, Karapatan is
expected to mobilize 7,000 demonstrators in Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo
cities, all in Panay Island, in the Visayas. In Bicol region, about
30,000 demonstrators are expected to join.
Outside the country, the
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP),
a coalition advocating for human rights and peace in the
Philippines, will hold protests. In Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea
and Australia in East Asia and the Pacific. In Italy, Belgium,
France, Germany and the Netherlands in Europe, and in Canada. ICHRP
is Karapatan’s network of international organizations.
Meanwhile, the AHRC
strongly supports these protests actions by local and international
groups to draw attention to the worsening state of human rights in
the country. The AHRC considers Duterte’s presidency as the most
violent and politically intolerant since Marcos. Duterte’s crackdown
on criminals and addicts, and the renewed killings of legal leftist
after peace talks collapse with the communists, is a dangerous
combination distinctive to his leadership.
“No president in
Philippine history has ever combined, and still gets away with it,
routine killings in national scale of supposed criminals and
addicts, under drug war; and human rights defenders and leftists
political activists, the supposed terrorists. Only Duterte has done
that and continue to do so, as we speak”, the AHRC said.
The Philippines attracted
the world’s attention in early 2016 with unprecedented level of
killings by law enforcement agencies since President Duterte came to
power. These killings are linked to his campaign to crackdown on
drugs, which led to a wave of unlawful killings across the country.
Many of these killings have amounted to extrajudicial executions, a
persistent pattern in the country’s long-standing problem of
impunity by abusive state security forces.
The International Human
Rights Day is an annual event to mark adoption of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).