amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 a license for human
June 24, 2018
BANGKOK, Thailand –
The proposed amendments to the Philippines’ Human Security Act of
2007 (HSA) would, if adopted, give government authorities a license
to commit human rights violations, said the International Commission
of Jurists (ICJ) in its submission today to the House of
Representatives. The ICJ strongly urged the House of Representatives
to reconsider these proposed amendments and in the interim to allow
more time for full consultation and debate on revisions of the law.
In its submission to the
House of Representatives’ joint Technical Working Group (TWG) of the
Committees of Public Order and Safety and National Defense and
Security, the ICJ stressed that certain proposed amendments to the
HSA are clearly incompatible with international human rights laws
and standards that prohibit unfettered surveillance power and
arbitrary deprivation of the right to liberty and protect the rights
to privacy, information, redress, and freedom of opinion and
expression. The ICJ also expressed deep concern that the law also
gives military personnel responsibility in countering terrorism,
specifically to conduct surveillance on, arrest, and detain persons
who are suspected of acts of terrorism.
“The proposed amendments
do not address the existing flaws of the HSA. For instance, the
definition of acts of terrorism under the HSA is vague and ambiguous
and the proposed changes do not in any way remedy that,” said
Emerlynne Gil, a Senior International Legal Adviser of the ICJ.
The ICJ also pointed out
that the proposed amendments are likely to lead to violations of the
right to freedom of opinion and expression.
The proposed amendments
would also impermissibly lengthen to thirty (30) days the period
within which an individual may be detained without judicial warrant.
“This is clearly incompatible with the Philippines international
legal obligations and constitutes arbitrary deprivation of liberty,”
The ICJ proposes to reduce
the detention period to forty-eight (48) hours or less, in
compliance with international human rights laws and standards.
“The Philippine government
has the undeniable duty to protect people from acts of terrorism
committed by non-State actors, but it cannot use as a pretext the
serious nature of terrorist acts to avoid its obligations under
international human rights law,” said Gil.
AMENDMENTS TO THE HUMAN SECURITY ACT 2007