Defending human rights online in the time of Duterte
by Arianne Christian Tapao, VERA Files
The 52-year-old advocate is no stranger to threats. A human rights defender (HRD) for 30 years, her name appears in police lists as a person of interest. But the fact that a 17-year-old student was killed over unfounded information gave her the chills. She calls it “disturbing, unprofessional.”
The secretary-general of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Trajano says she’s more scared about what might happen to the lesser known rights campaigners. “Kilala ako so less takot ako. Mas natatakot ako sa HRDs na hindi pa kilala (I’m a prominent defender so I’m not so scared for myself as I am for other HRDs).”
Indeed, times have worsened for rights campaigners, who have been demonized by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte himself because of their condemnation of the extra-judicial killings that have marked the government’s war on illegal drugs.
In his second State of the Nation Address, the president went as far as to call for the abolition of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), accusing it of defending criminals. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: The Commission on Human Rights, explained)
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