“Shoot them dead” – Parallels between the “War on Corona” and the “War on Drugs”

“Shoot them dead” – Parallels between the “War on Corona” and the “War on Drugs”

Like other leaders in the world, Duterte not only enforced police and military presence in the public space, but also described his government’s measures against the pandemic as warlike. The martial character of the governmental language culminated on April 1st into the public statement that violators of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) would be shot to death by the police and the military. The extent of violence in the official language stood out above that of others so that President Duterte secured himself and his country a place in the news headlines worldwide.

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Crackdown instead of Lockdown: An overview of COVID-19 restrictions in the Philippines and the struggle of vulnerable groups

Crackdown instead of Lockdown: An overview of COVID-19 restrictions in the Philippines and the struggle of vulnerable group

Enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), a measure employed by the Philippine government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections in the Philippines, is supposed to protect the people, to provide safety and aid for endangered groups, and to lighten the pressure on the Philippine health care system. The first entire island-region to be placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was Luzon, including the capital Manila, on March 16. A few days later, parts of Mindanao and Visayas followed with both quarantine and curfew measures. Checkpoints in all regions were implemented, preventing citizens and NGOs from moving into different settlement areas to provide aid to family members or oversee their projects. The ECQ has been extended in almost all areas in the Philippines until Mid-May.

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News

New Project Coordinator

Starting January 2020, Christina Keppel will represent the Action Network Human Rights Philippines located in the Asienhaus e.V. in Cologne, Germany. She is looking forward to the Philippine-related human rights work, interesting partners in the Philippines as well as in Germany and is excited about new insights and ideas.

Christina holds a master’s degree in Latin American regional studies. During her studies she focused on questions about society, economics and politics in the countries of the Global South. After university she worked as a researcher in the field of social-ecological sustainability for several years and focused on the matters of human rights, espcially in Asia and Latin America. Also, since 2017, she has been volunteering for the German sector of the international human rights NGO FIAN, her main topics being climate justice and land grabbing.

Please contact her via keppel(at)amp.ngo or personally from Monday till Friday at the philippinenbüro in Cologne!

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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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