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Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
End the Killings. Uphold Human Rights. Defend Democracy -iDEFEND
General Campaigns
Thursday, 22 September 2016 16:17

END THE KILLINGS. UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS.
DEFEND DEMOCRACY
Photo_by_PhilRights

Photo by PhilRights

Today is the International Day of Peace.

Development and peace go together, and this is why the United Nations sees as central to the achievement of sustainable development the drastic reduction of all forms of violence, the promotion of the rule of law, and equal access to justice for all.

This day is especially significant for our country since for the last three months, the country has been wracked by seeming government-sponsored violence and lawlessness, by a war the administration has declared, ostensibly against drugs but which has become a war against poor and marginalized Filipinos. Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, over 3000 people, practically all of them alleged drug users from the poor sector of Philippine society, have been subjected to extra-judicial execution either by the police or by vigilante groups.  While President Duterte’s subordinates invent ever more complex arguments to exonerate him, he  has made little attempt to conceal his preference for the extra-judicial execution of suspected drug dealers and users and his impatience with due process.  He has also enthusiastically given the green light to vigilantes to shoot pushers and users. And he has made it very clear that he does not believe in rehabilitation, which is the principal policy of all other governments towards users.

Not surprisingly, the president’s approach to the drug problem has earned him widespread notoriety internationally, to which he has responded by cursing his critics, including world leaders, and threatening to take the Philippines out of the United Nations.

While the police and vigilante groups go on a killing spree, his rabid followers intimidate those who stand for human rights and due process, branding them as protectors of drug lords.

Adding to the spreading sense of threat to basic rights among the citizenry is the president’s determination to bury the remains of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.  By enshrining the dead dictator as a hero, this move would legitimize his 14-year reign of terror, from 1972 to 1986, with its countless violations of human rights, political rights, and economic and social rights. It would constitute an airbrushing of history.

Democracy is under threat today.

In Sept. 4, the President has put the whole country under a State of Emergency due to lawless violence, indefinitely. Recently, we witnessed the most vivid manifestation of the failure of democracy being the Malacanang-directed ouster of Senator de Lima as head of the Justice Committee.  This is the latest move of  the Executive  to gain total control of Congress.  As for the president’s stance toward the Supreme Court, the whole country witnessed how he angrily threatened to declare martial law when the Court asserted its authority in the investigation of judges that Malacanang had linked to drugs.

Forty four years ago today, Marcos declared martial law.  Today, we face a similar  if not a greater threat to our lives, liberties, and democratic rights .  These rights, for which so many of our people fought and died for, are enshrined in our constitution.  We cannot allow anyone to take those rights away from us.

Thus, on this International Day of Peace, we demand that the Duterte administration put an end to extra-judicial killings. We demand that this administration:

·       respect human rights and due process,

·       refrain from subverting the separation of powers,

·       uphold democratic processes instead of curtailing them.

But above all, we call on our fellow citizens to join us in defense of our rights, our liberties, our democracy.  For as the old saying goes, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good women and men should stand by and do nothing.”

(Statement of iDefend Coalition, Sept. 21, 2016)

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 September 2016 16:31
 
Open Letter to the Senate of the Philippines On the Approved House Bill 4727 by the House of Representatives on 7 March 2017
Other campaigns
Thursday, 23 March 2017 18:00
Open Letter to the Senate of the Philippines
On the Approved House Bill 4727 by the House of Representatives on 7 March 2017


To Excellency:

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (Senate President)
Senator Ralph G. Recto (Senate President Pro-Tempore)
Senator Vicente C. Sotto III (Majority Leader)
Senator Franklin M. Drilon (Minority Leader)
Senator Sonny M. Angara
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV (Assistant Minority Leader)
Senator Maria Lourdes “Nancy” S. Binay
Senator Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano
Senator Leila De Lima
Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito
Senator Francis “Chiz” G. Escudero
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
Senator Richard J. Gordon
Senator Gregorio B. Hosanan II
Senator Risa Hontiveros
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson
Senator Loren B. Legarda
Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
Senator Grace L. Poe
Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV
Senator Joel Villanueva
Senator Cynthia A.Villar
Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri

Honourable Senators,

We, the undersigned civil society organisations from the Southeast Asia region, express our grave disappointment at the decision of the House of Representatives of the Philippines to approve the House Bill 4727, which seeking to reinstates the death penalty. Such a decision sends an alarming signal to the ASEAN region given the Philippines’ role as the current Chair of ASEAN, a regional body that will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Second Optional Protocol aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, the Philippines had played an important role among the Asian states in campaigning for a moratorium and abolition of the death penalty. The Philippines is the first country in Asia to abolish the death penalty in 1987. Despite being restored in 1994, the death penalty was abolished for the second time in 2006.

In the midst of the administration’s highly-criticised ‘war on drugs’, with more than 7,000 people have been killed, the Bill represents another baseless argument that the death penalty for drug-related offenses is the way forward to ending the drug menace in the country. To date, there is no ample and conclusive evidence proving that the death penalty can act as a deterrent of crime. Similar to the use of extrajudicial killing that targets mostly the poorest members of the community, the use of the death penalty will likely target the marginalised people who are mostly defenceless in the judicial system. The use of the death penalty often overlooks the root of crimes in the society, such as poverty and inequality.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 March 2017 18:02
 
Human rights essential to democracy – UN Expert
Human Rights Defenders' Activities
Friday, 03 December 2010 18:23
PRESS RELEASE
3 December 2010

Human rights essential to democracy – UN Expert

December 2 , Manila -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, yesterday urged governments in Asia to recognize and protect persons working on human rights issues as “essential” to building democracy.

Sekaggya said, “human rights play an indispensable role in the defense of democracy” as she observed that democracy is at a cross roads in many countries in the region, where the military and conservative parties are making a comeback.

Ms Sekaggaya is in Manila in an unofficial capacity to participate in a regional forum of human rights defenders from 2 to 4 December, in which some 100 human rights activists from 16 countries in Asia are participating.

The UN independent expert from Uganda explained that “criticism and dissent are the lifeblood of a healthy democratic society.”
Last Updated on Saturday, 04 December 2010 14:49
 
Golden treasures of a tormented land
Y4R activities
Monday, 07 June 2010 11:47

IMG_1957

“Gintong Yaman ng Sinirang Bayan” is a satirical play about dreams, lives and relationships of families in a community in Northern Luzon that is being affected by the impending mining operation in the area.

The play is set in a barrio in Nueva Vizcaya during the course of a foreign mining company’s application in the province. The residents of the community find themselves with differing stands and opinions regarding the mining operation which poses to offer the residents with a golden opportunity.

IMG_1933IMG_1897

Ruben, in his search for the golden dream and his quest to make it big, grabbed the scholarship grant from the mining company, much to his mother’s dismay.  Other inhabitants of the community engage themselves in heated debates regarding the positive and negative effects the mining operation will bring.  

Ruben must decide.  Will he go after his golden dream despite the disapproval of his loved ones and the destruction of his native land?  What is the truth behind his father’s death and what will its implication be on Ruben’s decision?

Last Updated on Monday, 07 June 2010 12:08
 
Sincerity, transparency pressed in government and NDF peace talks
On Peace
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 10:12

Manindigan_sa_PT_by_John_Alster_Soriano3Photo by Jphn Alster Soriano (MAG)

Manindigan sa Peace Talks!

Press Release
February 15, 2011


A civil society movement of peace advocates, non-government organizations and people’s organizations called as “Manindigan para sa Peace Talks” pressed for sincerity and transparency upon the resumption of formal talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“We believe that peace is our right and peace building is responsibility of all. The resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP offers an opportunity to come to terms with the country’s best interests and work for peace that had eluded us for so long,” said Sr. Arnold Maria Noel, SSps of the Manindigan para sa Peace Talks.

Both the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the government agreed to hold formal talks on February 15-21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Government which has been acting as Third Party Facilitator since 2001.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 February 2011 11:06
 
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