[Statement] PH Senate should act swiftly, pass HRDP bill to protect human rights | AIph

PH Senate should act swiftly, pass HRDP bill to protect human rights

On 17 January, Congress passed the Human Rights Defenders Protection bill on the third and final reading. The bill aims to strengthen existing laws and provide additional institutional measures to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) from extrajudicial killings, and extreme threats and harassment. Butch Olano, Amnesty International Philippines Section Director responds:

“Congress’ approval of the HRD Protection bill is a welcome development and provides a glimmer of hope that impunity will not always prevail in the Philippines. This bill is sorely needed as an answer to the Duterte administration’s intense crackdown on activists and any other person who speaks critically of its policies,

“Red-tagging has become a common and dangerous tactic which endangers the safety and security of many HRDs. The bill codifies the protections guaranteed to HRDs and provides them with a formal recourse in instances of threat or danger. If enacted into law, this will also provide some measure of protection for activists and other human rights workers until the Anti-Terror Law is amended,

“Amnesty now calls on the Senate to demonstrate the same commitment to human rights, justice, and democracy by acting swiftly and judiciously to pass the bill that is currently pending at the Justice and Human Rights Committee chaired by Senator Gordon. It is crucial for this law to be enacted before the current Congress ends. The Senate’s action on the bill may help rescue the deteriorating human rights situation in the country fueled by Duterte’s counter-progressive policies on freedom of expression and association.”

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