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Home Philippine News <strong>Int’l community prods PH gov’t to enact Human Rights Defenders’ Protection legislation</strong>

Int’l community prods PH gov’t to enact Human Rights Defenders’ Protection legislation

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<strong>Int’l community prods PH gov’t to enact Human Rights Defenders’ Protection legislation</strong>
To date, Karapatan has documented 937 human rights defenders who were victims of extrajudicial killings since 2001. Many more experience judicial harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention, threats and harassment online and offline, reprisals and other numerous forms of human rights violations.

NEWS RELEASE

November 29, 2022

References:

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General +639173162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, +639189790580

In a hearing of the Committee on Human Rights of the House of Representatives today, November 29, 2022, Karapatan cited the strong recommendations of various member States of the UN General Assembly for the enactment of a legislation for the protection of human rights defenders and on the attacks against activists in the Philippines, during the recent Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in November. 

Forty States called for justice and the protection and promotion of the rights of human rights defenders and journalists in the Philippines, in the 4th cycle of the UPR of the Philippines recently, with the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, Romania, Switzerland, and Mexico recommending the enactment of a Human Rights Defenders’ Protection legislation. 

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that these recommendations should be heeded by the Philippine government, specifically the House of Representatives and the Senate in the case of the HRD legislation, to fast-track the long-overdue measures which have been pending since 2007. 

In Karapatan’s position paper in the said hearing, Palabay expressed support for proposed bills filed by Rep. Edcel Lagman, Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, noting that the consolidated versions of the three proposals had been approved during the 17th and 18th Congress of the Lower House. “The House of Representatives should immediately approve this measure, as we call on members of the Senate to file a similar version and expedite the enactment of the bill,” Karapatan said. 

“Several UN independent experts have since repeatedly voiced out concerns on numerous attacks against Filipino human rights defenders, the latest of which are expressed by independent experts including the UN Human Rights Committee, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights. These proposed legislations are, therefore, urgent

responses to a situation that has long been on emergency mode,” Karapatan further explained. 

To date, Karapatan has documented 937 human rights defenders who were victims of extrajudicial killings since 2001. Many more experience judicial harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention, threats and harassment online and offline, reprisals and other numerous forms of human rights violations.

The proposed measures also seek to penalize red-tagging and other forms of threats against human rights defenders. UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor stated in her March 2021 report that smears including red-tagging is a context-specific death threat in the Philippines and has thus recommended that legislations protecting defenders against these acts be enacted