News

Statement on the Crackdown Against Civil Society Organization in the Philippines

The Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP) expresses its deep concern about recent attacks by the Philippine government and its security forces against civil society organizations in the country, including long-standing partners of its network.

On October 31 and November 1, several offices of civil society organizations in Bacolod City and Escalante City, Negros Occidental were raided, and 57 persons arrested, including 12 minors, who were then accused of being members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA). While 44 persons, including the minors, were subsequently released for lack of probable cause, 13 leaders and organizers of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, media group Altermidya, partylist Bayan Muna, labor union Kilusang Mayo Uno, peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, human rights organization Karapatan, and the cultural groups Teatro Obrero and Teatro Kaling remain detained or on bail on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Eyewitnesses however maintain that the evidence was planted by police officers conducting the raid.

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AMP concerned for safety of local partners

In a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government Eduadro Año and the Secretary of the Department of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP) expressed its deep concern about increasing attempts by the Philippine government to discredit civil society organizations, including a number of long-standing partners of our network, by denouncing them as front organizations of the communist New People’s Army (NPA). These accusations frequently have deadly consequences since human rights defenders who work for organizations alleged by the security forces to have ties with the communist insurgency are at particular risk of becoming victims of extrajudicial killings.

AMP Statement, April 9, 2019

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NGOs ask EU to start suspension of Philippines' trade preferences over human rights

EU FlagIn a joint letter with European civil society organizations, the members of the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP) conveyed their profound concern about the gross and systematic violations of human rights occurring in the Philippines. While extrajudicial killings in the government’s War on Drugs continue unabated, human rights defenders, the political opposition and the free press increasingly come under attack.

The EU is therefore urged to address this situation by starting the withdrawal procedure of the trade preferences the Philippines enjoy under the GSP+ scheme which are linked to the adherence to international human rights standards. Since the withdrawal procedure stipulates a monitoring and evaluation phase of six months, the Philippine government would have a final chance to avoid the loss of the status. The letter suggests a number of concrete steps which the Philippines could undertake to improve the human rights situation immediately.

Joint NGO letter to Commissioner Malmström, December 14, 2018

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AMP discusses Philippines' GSP+ status in European Parliament

Side-Event GSP+ Europäisches Parlament 2018On March 20, the Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen together with MEP Barbara Lochbihler and our partners of Sri Lanka Advocacy co-organized a roundtable discussion in the European Parliament on the strengths and weaknesses of the EU’s trade preference scheme GSP+ as a mechanism to promote human rights. Under the GSP+ program the EU reduces import tariffs for countries like the Philippines and Sri Lanka which have to undergo a rigorous human rights monitoring in exchange.  

During the debate, Mr. Ellecer Carlos from the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) stressed that the massive and rapid deterioration of the human rights situation in the Philippines is not limited to the Duterte’s War on Drugs which has already cost the lives of an estimated 13,000 people. Rather, the government is also systematically dismantling democratic and judicial institutions and is cracking down on civil society.

Carlos therefore asked the EU to issue clear criteria the Philippine government needs to fulfill to keep its trade preferences. These should include an immediate end of the police operations in the War on Drugs and an invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Agnes Callamard, to visit the country.

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Human Rights Violations Against Members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Bishop Carlos MoralesThe Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippinen (AMP) is deeply concerned about the severe human rights violations suffered by members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI - Philippine Independent Church) which include the illegal arrest of Bishop Morales, the killing of two lay members, and the surveillance of IFI clergy.

Because the IFI has always been vocal about injustice and human rights violations, the church has a history of being targeted by state security forces who accuse its members of supporting the communist rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA). This includes the murder of Bishop Alberto Ramento in 2006 and of the lay member and anti-mining activist Benjamin Bayles in 2010. We are extremely worried that the new cases of harassment and violence represent a resurgence of repression against the church which has somewhat decreased in recent years.

 

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