Philippines Human Rights
The human rights situation in the Philippines deteriorated dramatically during the tenure of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (January 2001 to June 30, 2010) and was as worrying under her reign as it was during the Marcos era.
According to neovideogames, Filipino human rights organizations such as Karapatan, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Asian Human Rights Commission have repeatedly and extensively reported politically motivated killings, illegal house searches and arrests, disappearances, kidnappings, torture, sexual abuse and killings, and the resurgence of death squads, and inaction the government sharply criticized. Death squads don’t just operate in times of election campaigns. In Davao City, the largest city with a population of around 1.5 million on the southern island of Mindanao, the long-time mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who was in office until the summer of 2016, hadtolerated their bustle in order to keep the city “clean and safe”. At the end of May 2014, Human Rights Watch published a 71-page report entitled “‘One Shot to the Head”, in which the same perfidious policy of “preventive crime-fighting” was documented in detail in the neighboring city of Tagum under its mayor Uy. In all of this, it is and remains noticeable that a culture of impunity persists and the perpetrators get away unmolested.
During political violence posing a structural problem on the islands, the most recent politically motivated killings have mainly killed active workers, peasants and trade union leaders, committed clergy, critical media people and even doctors. The government suspected them of sympathizing with left-wing organizations and parties. The Oplan Bantay Laya (Freedom Watch Operations Plan), which was pursued in two stages, served as the official counterinsurgency strategy. The perpetrators acted carefree within the framework of a state-sanctioned culture of impunity. Many of these murders occurred in the context of the “fight against terrorism”. With the help of the euphemistic Human Security Act of 2007 called the Anti-Terror Bill President Arroyo also pursued the goal of silencing unpleasant critics and keeping them politically cold.
Since the spring of 2007, there has been an increasing number of foreign voices criticizing the government in Manila for its human rights policy. In the US Senate, a special committee of inquiry dealt with the worrying developments in the Philippines and Prof. Philip Alston (Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions) traveled to Manila specially. The main demand was made to the government there to remedy structural weaknesses in the state security forces that are unable or unwilling to provide witness protection, to lift offenders’ impunity and to apprehend criminals. This particularly concerned the speedy investigation of the massacre of November 23, 2009, which was politically motivated in the run-up to the May elections in 2010, when 58 people – including 32 media representatives – were killed in the province of Maguindanao, making the Philippines the most dangerous country for overnight Journalists advanced in 2009. Even more than seven years (sic!) After this crime, the main suspects (members and close friends of the once powerful Ampatuan clan) enjoy privileged conditions of detention,
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), which investigated cases of human rights violations at its second session on the Philippines in March 2007 in The Hague, Netherlands, came to a clear verdict against the government in Manila and the George W. Bush administration for backing Arroyo. The PPT found both parties guilty of three crimes on the following points – Manila came under fire:
- Gross and systematic violations of civil rights, extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, kidnappings and enforced disappearances, massacres and torture;
- Gross and systematic violation of the economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino people as well
- Gross and systematic violation of the right to self-determination and liberation.
The human rights situation of children is a particular challenge. This affects street children and children in prisons, for whose concerns the Preda Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Olongapo City, among others, supports, as well as children in situations of armed conflict. The government and the Muslim and Communist rebels accuse each other of recruiting children and letting them fight in their ranks.
In Germany there were repeated protests because of the human rights situation in the Philippines, and in the summer of 2007 the action alliance, which was primarily formed from church aid organizations and the Philippinenbüro eV, was formed as Human Rights Philippines, in order to provide information in German-speaking countries about the further development of the human rights situation in the Philippines and to carry out appropriate lobbying work. It was not until the end of June 2011 that the action alliance, in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), organized a conference in Berlin on the situation of human rights in the Philippines, at which the aim was to critically review the policies of the new Aquino government in this regard to let. European church representatives and members of various civil society organizations published the popular appeal “The Killings Must Stop” in the Philippine media.
When he took office in 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III. announced that it would end human rights violations in his country and respect human rights again. Church and secular associations in the country prepared a class suite case against Ex-President Arroyo. Meanwhile, according to the Karapatan Monitor, Aquinos was still in reignOver 200 people had been victims of extrajudicial executions by the end of June 2014 alone. Critics of Aquinos therefore accused the president of paying lip service to his previously full-bodied promise to improve human rights. Worse still, the old patterns of state repression – intimidation, persecution, torture, enforced disappearance and / or the “liquidation” of politically unpopular activists – persisted, even though the terminology used to “deodorize” these crimes has changed.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who has been in office since June 30, 2016, made the relentless “fight against corruption, drugs and crime” his central election campaign issue and was able to score decisive points with it. But after only nine months in office, the country has been gripped by an unprecedented wave of violence in the form of ” extra-judicial killings ” (EJK). So far, around 8,000 people have been victims of this violence, the majority of whom are the responsibility of state “security” forces – above all the National Police (PNP). A Reuters report shows that the Philippine “security” authorities were also paid many times for the murders.Efforts have been underway since the beginning of 2017 to prosecute Duterte for this international criminal law, especially since he is accused by two former members of the so-called “Davao Death Squad” of having actively supported and co-financed their activities. Duterte himself has publicly admitted several times that he used to kill criminals.
The following links provide insight into the work of committed human rights organizations and provide information on the human rights situation during the Aquino administration and since the beginning of the Duterte administration:
- Human Rights Report Philippines (2017) – Action Alliance Human Rights Philippines (AMP)
- Human-Rights-Watch microsite on the Philippines
- Human rights work in the Philippines
- Ending killings should top Aquino agenda: HRW
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Karapatan HR Year-End Report 2016