Category Archives: From the web

[From the web] LAWYERS URGE THE SUPREME COURT FOR REFORMS IN THE ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS: Express concern over the use of court processes as cover to attack activists and dissenters | NUPL

#HumanRights #Assault

LAWYERS URGE THE SUPREME COURT FOR REFORMS IN THE ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANTS: Express concern over the use of court processes as cover to attack activists and dissenters
22 March 2021

More than a hundred lawyers, law deans and legal luminaries today formally urged the Supreme Court, through a letter, to institute reforms in the issuance of search warrants, concerned that court processes have possibly been resorted to as false legal cover to attack activists and dissenters.

The letter, prompted by the number of deaths and arrests in the course of the implementation of search warrants, include, among others, the following proposals:

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[From the web] Women need more vaccines, not tarpaulins! | Akbayan

#HumanRights #Women #COVID19ph

Women need more vaccines, not tarpaulins!

Photo from Akbayan FB page

“More vaccines, not tarpaulins!”

This was the message conveyed by women members of Akbayan Partylist as they unfurled a banner at a footbridge in Quezon City on Thursday marking this year’s International Women’s Month.

The Akbayan women said that they are calling for more vaccine options for the public and an end to early and expensive election campaigning amid the country’s efforts to contain COVID-19.

“Women want more vaccine options. The more vaccines that are made available, the more lives we can save, and the sooner we can all realize a new and better normal for all. Campaign tarpaulins and other early and expensive election campaigning will not save lives nor protect women from the global health crisis,” Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales said.

It was reported that tarpaulins that carried messages urging Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president in 2022 appeared in different parts of the country. Duterte and her supporters drew flak from the public as the tarpaulins sprouted in different areas amid the country’s lack of vaccines against COVID-19.

“As women, who are one of the most vulnerable sectors to the pandemic, we are scandalized by this early election campaigning in the middle of a global health crisis. Hindi bale sana kung ganoon din kabilis ang rollout ng bakuna gaya ng paglalagay nila ng mga tarpaulin sa buong bansa,” Rosales said.

Rosales, who is also a former partylist representative, explained that women have every right to call for more vaccines as they bear the brunt of the pandemic.

“From facing a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission and deaths, as majority of health frontliners are women, to loss of jobs and increasing gender-based violence, COVID-19 has hit women harder and worsened gender inequality. Let us not add furthermore to our women’s multiple burden by depriving them of a fast, safe and efficient vaccine program,” Rosales said.

“We call on the government to provide a safe, adequate, and effective vaccination plan for all. We also call for the faster arrival of more vaccines to give the public, particularly women, the widest array options to protect ourselves from COVID-19,” Rosales said.

https://web.facebook.com/AkbayanParty/photos/a.99632461555/10157600362061556/

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[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Senators to Keep Prohibition on Waste Incineration

#HumanRights #Environment

EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Senators to Keep Prohibition on Waste Incineration

Photo by EcoWaste Coalition

The pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition calls on the country’s top legislators to safeguard public health and the environment by keeping intact the Clean Air and Solid Waste Management laws, particularly the ban on waste incineration, as the Philippines marks the 35th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

“We are honoring the Filipino people whose bravery and dedication toppled the oppressive leadership of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.. After 35 years of EDSA revolution, our communities and environment are again threatened by the unjust political and social structures that favor transnational corporations and a few individuals,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition.

From the martial law period until now, the Philippines still counts as one of the deadliest countries in Asia for land and environmental defenders especially when it comes to fighting for the rights of nature against corporations who pollute the environment.

According to Lucero, one of the recent injustices against nature was the push by the House of Representatives in promoting incineration under the guise of waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities, and the vicious attempt to repeal specific provisions in the Clean Air Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and other relevant laws.

Last year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of a climate emergency by the House of Representatives, several environment groups, including the EcoWaste Coalition, made the urgent call for policies in mitigating the waste and climate crisis. The declaration urged local governments and government bodies to adopt policies to mitigate climate change.

The groups also asked the government to disallow the funding of dirty energy projects by corporations that greatly contribute to environmental crises and disasters which endanger the health of citizens due to the release of poisonous chemicals such as dioxins and furans.

“This year, as the country continues to battle COVID-19, it is also of utmost importance to use environmentally safe measures in dealing with waste to protect public health and the environment which is obviously not through waste-to-energy incineration,” added Lucero.

“Moreover as we commemorate the EDSA Revolution, we also call on the members of the Senate to set a high moral leadership and put into action the virtues of democracy and love for our country. We need to stop sacrificing our communities and it will start by scrapping the Waste-to-Energy Bill,” further added Lucero.

According to a factsheet by GAIA Asia Pacific, while marketed in the guise of advancing renewable energy, WTE incineration is not an environmentally sustainable form of energy source and waste management solution. It is a known fact that when burning of waste happens, toxic substances are released which undeniably compromise the health and safety of individuals, the factsheet said.

“It is really very important in calling on the government to scrap this proposal on waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration and to show its sincerity for the sake of the health and well-being of the people. Our lawmakers should instead uphold our existing environmental laws and approve the green laws pending in the 18th Congress, including the passage of the National Single-Use Plastics Ban as well as ordinances that would hold culprits accountable of polluting practices,” Lucero ended.


EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] Vaccines for all, safety for all -By Rene E. Ofreneo

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

Vaccines for all, safety for all
By Rene E. Ofreneo

No one is safe unless everyone is safe. This, in gist, is the rationale behind the proposal of India, South Africa and other developing countries for a “TRIPS Waiver” under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS.

The Covid-19 pandemic has bared the global reality: the health of one depends on the health of all. This means all countries should exert efforts to attain “herd immunity” for their populations. Otherwise, the virus, which has been mutating, will continue to circulate endlessly, flaring every now and then in different parts of the world. Hence, it is critical that all countries should have access to vaccines and medical products such as test kits, protective equipment, ventilators, therapeutics and medical devices that are needed to treat, prevent and contain the virus.

The problem is that there are barriers, “intellectual barriers,” in accessing these vaccines and medical products. Under the TRIPS agreement, industrial and pharmaceutical products traded around the world are subject to the protective rules of TRIPS on patents, trade secrets, copyrights and industrial designs. TRIPS is some kind of an aberration under the WTO umbrella of trade agreements. TRIPS provides utmost “protection” to the global trade players such as the multinationals while the rest of the WTO agreements seek maximum “liberalization” of markets for goods and services.

The proposed TRIPS Waiver means exemption of developing countries from the protective rules of TRIPS. Specifically, they shall be allowed to avail themselves of TRIPS “flexibilities” such as the “compulsory licensing” or manufacture of patented vaccines and medical products as well as the right to undertake “parallel importation” of the above from another source without the consent of the patent holders—all in the name of public health.

Click the link below to read more:

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[From the web] Groups Call for a Stronger ASEAN Regional Policy and Action to Combat Waste Dumping -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment

Groups Call for a Stronger ASEAN Regional Policy and Action to Combat Waste Dumping

Photo from ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Two civil society organizations from Malaysia and the Philippines urged the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to declare the entire region as “no dumping ground” for hazardous wastes and other wastes such as household and plastic garbage.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and the EcoWaste Coalition together called for a robust ASEAN-level policy that will protect the region’s over 655 million people and their rich but threatened biodiversity and ecosystems from the adverse impacts of global waste dumping.

The groups’ plea for a regional stance to prevent foreign waste dumping came on the heels of the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards (AEEA) given to recipients from Malaysia and the Philippines who were recognized for their work in combating transboundary environmental crime, which resulted in the re-exportation of unlawful plastic waste imports to their countries of origin.

“The AEEA conferred to environmental enforcers in Malaysia and the Philippines has again turned the spotlight on the illegal traffic of waste in Asia and the need for greater collaboration and vigilance, nationally and regionally, to put an end to such an environmental crime,” said Mageswari Sangaralingam, Researcher, CAP.

“To protect the region from the environmental and health impacts of waste trade, all the ASEAN member states should immediately ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and fix regulatory loopholes if any that ‘legalize’ the entry of hazardous wastes and other wastes disguised as recyclable scraps. Regionally, we urge the ASEAN to adopt a declaration, or better still an agreement, proclaiming the region as no dumping ground for foreign waste,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Now is the time for the ASEAN to flex its muscles as a regional bloc to denounce global waste dumping and affirm its unity to safeguard the region’s people and the environment from the drawbacks and hazards of waste trade,” said Chinkie Peliño-Golle, Regional Coordinator, International Pollutants Elimination Network – Southeast and East Asia (IPEN-SEA).

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP)
10 Jalan Masjid Negeri, 11600 Pulau Pinang
Malaysia
https://consumer.org.my/
EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City
Philippines
http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com/

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[From the web] ‘Stop the killings!’- Labor NGO seeks justice for the murder of union leader Leonardo Escala -EILER

#HumanRights #Workers

‘Stop the killings!’- Labor NGO seeks justice for the murder of union leader Leonardo Escala

Screen Grabbed from Eiler.ph

The Ecumenical Institute of Labor Education and Research (EILER) condemns the brutal murder of Leonardo “Ka Esca” Escala, union president of the port operator International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI) last February 7, in Tondo Manila.

Under Escala’s leadership, the union the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Pantalan Incorporated (NMPI)-ICTSI under the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU), fought for labor rights and humane working conditions.

Because of his convictions, he constantly received death threats.

Read complete article @eiler.ph

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[From the web] Clergy, scientists oppose seabed mining in Cagayan -ATM

#HumanRights #Mining

Clergy, scientists oppose seabed mining in Cagayan

Quezon City – Local clergy and scientists involved in marine conservation expressed opposition against the reported seabed mining project in Cagayan that will start operations this month.

In a statement signed on January 8, 2021, the Cagayan Advocates for Integrity of Creation (CAIC) called on Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu to re-consider decision to allow the offshore mining project, citing the potential decrease of fish-catch of the more than 37,000 registered fisherfolk in Cagayan Province.

CAIC also mentioned the negative effects the mining project might introduce to several endangered species in the area. “It is clear to us that the black sand is a God-given resource to protect the ecological integrity of the whole province. Removal of it will cause irreversible damages to the entire bio-network” according to the statement signed by at least nine priests and nuns based in Cagayan province.

JDVC, owner and operator of the offshore mining project has asserted that their operations will not disturb the environment and has been accepted by local residents.

In a separate position paper, 78 environmental organizations and science-experts detailed the documented impacts of offshore or seabed mining.

Read complete article @www.alyansatigilmina.net

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[From the web] EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

#HumanRights #Safety #Health

EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for LGU Inspection of Ice and Cold Storage Plants Following Ammonia Gas Leaks in Two Facilities

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for chemical safety and environmental health, pressed local government units (LGUs) to immediately conduct inspections of ice and cold storage plants following ammonia gas leak incidents in Metro Manila and Batangas province last Wednesday.

On February 3, an ammonia gas leak from an ice plant in Navotas City led to the death of two workers, the hospitalization of close to 100 people, and the evacuation of some 3,000 nearby residents. Leakage from an ice plant in Lian Batangas on the same day caused the plants at an adjacent creek to wither and the fish to die.

Ammonia, particularly anhydrous ammonia, is a common refrigerant used in commercial and industrial facilities such as those involved in ice making, dairy products manufacturing and cold storage.

According to material safety data sheets, exposure to ammonia, a colorless, corrosive and highly irritating gas with suffocating smell, can irritate or burn the nose, throat and respiratory tract, eyes and skin, and cause dizziness and nausea among victims. Exposure to a high concentration of ammonia can be fatal.

“We call upon LGUs to conduct immediate inspection of ice and cold storage facilities in their areas of jurisdiction to prevent the possibility of chemical accidents in the future, as well as to reduce harm on workers, residents and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] NUJP’s ABS-CBN campaign, Karapatan’s ‘resilient website’ win human rights awards -Kodao

#HumanRights #Campaign NUJP’s ABS-CBN campaign, Karapatan’s ‘resilient website’ win human rights awards

Photo from Kodao Production website

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and Karapatan won the two top prizes of the 10th Human Rights Pinduteros Choice Awards for their online campaign and presence in the past year.

The NUJP’s Black Friday Online Protest #NoToABSCBNShutdown garnered nearly 39% of votes among 10 finalists in an online poll held by HR Online PH.

The media group held several online rallies after government-imposed coronavirus lockdowns prevented its burgeoning Black Friday protests on the closure of ABS-CBN from being regularly held since the month of March.

Government attacks of the country’s biggest broadcasting corporation and eventual denial of petitions for a new franchise to operate had been the biggest press freedom and labor rights issue in the country this year.

The NUJP started and led national and global Black Friday protests that gathered participation and support from many sectors, organizations and individuals.

NUJP secretary general Dabet Castaneda-Panelo and this reporter, NUJP deputy secretary general, received the glass trophy at the awarding ceremony in Quezon City Monday, November 30.

Castaneda said in an emotional acceptance speech that the recognition is personal as she is an ABS-CBN employee who witnessed how the majority of the 11 thousand employees of the network lost their jobs.

“But the struggle for ABS-CBN is bigger than its 11 thousand employees and the network itself. This is for the people’s right of choice and right to information,” she said.

Click the link to read the complete article: https://kodao.org/nujps-abs-cbn-campaign-karapatans-resilient-website-win-human-rights-awards/?fbclid=IwAR1-EmwKUtjDachHIZAtV6QX91d1Ivnl-_gpNQ5uDJMg9IfNuCeod_mPC9g

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[From the web] The Guilds earns nomination on Human Rights Recognition

#HumanRights The Guilds earns nomination on Human Rights Recognition

Official Student Publication of Bataan Peninsula State University—Main Campus, The Guilds, received a nomination at the 10th #HumanRights Pinduteros Choice Awards on this year’s Network Post Category for its statement post denouncing attacks against Jejomar Contawe’s stand as a scholar of taxpayers.

In line with this, representatives from The Guilds also participated on Freedom of Expression Conference IV themed “fighting misinformation and defending freedom of expression during COVID-19 in the Philippines” and in the two-day National Youth Conference for Human Rights which explored the issues and challenges on human rights and roles of youth.

These events are held to raise the awareness of youth and to commemorate the celebration of International Human Rights Week, organized by Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, and Human Rights Online Philippines in partnership with British Embassy Manila. The award ceremony will be held later this afternoon with live telecast at Human Rights Online Philippines’ Facebook page and YouTube channel.


Report by Virgnia Mae M. Constante
Layout by Jeanuel Roger Rendell A. Paje
Photo from Human Rights Online Philippines website

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[From the web] On the incredulous red-tagging of Altermidya Network at the Dec. 1 Senate hearing -Kodao

#HumanRights #StopRedTagging On the incredulous red-tagging of Altermidya Network at the Dec. 1 Senate hearing

ONCE AGAIN, state forces led the hostile red-baiting of independent media at the December 1 Senate hearing after they presented the Altermidya Network and its members nationwide as so-called communist fronts.

The red-tagging of Altermidya journalists, online and on-ground, has intensified even more in the past months. These incidents, just like the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) presentation at the Senate hearing earlier, were done without evidence and incredulously linked the member outfits of Altermidya to an underground Communist organization.

In fact, the task force, despite its billion-peso-budget, merely copied the publicly-available Altermidya list of members and placed it under an incredible organizational heading.

We are appalled at this irresponsible practice, which is a stark contrast to our ethical commitment of truthful and careful reporting as journalists. The Altermidya Network is the broadest alliance of community journalists, independent media outfits, community radio broadcasters, and grassroots film collectives in the country. Its member outfits have a consistent record of covering underreported issues in communities – some for more than two decades, while other community-based media outfits in provinces join and continually expand the network.

Click the link to read the complete article: https://kodao.org/on-the-incredulous-red-tagging-of-altermidya-network-at-the-dec-1-senate-hearing/

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[From the web] AFP, PNP raid Cagayan peasant leaders’ house -Kodao

#HumanRights AFP, PNP raid Cagayan peasant leaders’ house

The military and police raided the house of Anakpawis regional coordinator and Danggayan ti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan) chairperson Isabelo Adviento midnight of Wednesday, December 2, but failed to find the peasant leader, a Cagayan Valley support group reported.

About 100 soldiers swooped down on Adviento’s house at Barangay Carupian, Baggao, Cagayan and, at about 3:30 AM, forced their way in to search for him, the group Taripnong Cagayan Valley said.

The group did not identify the soldiers’ unit.

Adviento, however, was not home as he was leading relief operations elsewhere to help victims of the massive floods that hit the region the past weeks, Taripnong added.

Frustrated at missing their target, the government troops tried to intimidate the household by placing a grenade and a loaded gun underneath a chair at the house’s living area.

The soldiers also accosted and handcuffed Adviento’s neighbor and Baggao Farmers’ Association (BFA) member Richard Dagohoy, Taripnong added.

The group said the local police arrived after two hours with a warrant and proceeded to search the entire house.

The police warned the people in the house, including Adviento’s mother, that the next to be raided are the houses of BFA members Ranchi Billones and Ronald Reyes.

Click the link to read the complete article: https://kodao.org/afp-pnp-raid-cagayan-peasant-leaders-house/

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[From the web] Women and Labor Groups to Gender Ombud: Investigate PhilHealth’s Objectification of Woman for Official’s Birthday -CATW-AP

#HumanRights #Women and Labor Groups to Gender Ombud: Investigate PhilHealth’s Objectification of Woman for Official’s Birthday

Photo from CATW-AP FB Page

Eight groups of women and labor organizations trooped to the Commission on Human Rights Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to file a complaint of discrimination and violation of women’s rights under the Magna Carta of Women against PhilHealth Regional Vice President Paolo Johann Perez and regional office employees.

According to Joanna Bernice Coronacion, Deputy Secretary General of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa – Sentro
, “In two days, we are marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW), and we should remind the state and the public that reinforcement of women’s objectification is unacceptable.”

Jean Enriquez, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), cited that within the definition of discrimination in the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which is the basis of the Magna Carta of Women, is distinction of women on the basis of sex with the purpose of nullifying her rights. “In this instance as in many normalized instances of treating women as gifts to men and their portrayal as always sexually available to men, women’s right to be treated equal in dignity is violated.”

Judy Ann Chan-Miranda, Secretary General of Partido Manggagawa (PM), cited Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which states that all government resources and powers of their respective offices must be employed and used efficiently, honestly and economically. “The use of PhilHealth office to display utter disregard for women’s rights should be accounted for.”

Ana Maria Nemenzo, National Coordinator of WomanHealth Philippines, also deplored the acts of the PhilHealth officials and employees which she says normalizes the hyper-objectification of women which discourages women and girls from reporting when they are abused. “Women and girls are reluctant to report sexual violence because of fear of being blamed since public officials normalize sexual objectification,” Nemenzo stressed.

Amparo Miciano, Secretary General of Pambansang Kongreso ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), “The State, as the primary duty-bearer, shall refrain from discriminating against women and violating their rights; protect women against discrimination and from violation of their rights by entities, and individuals; and fulfill the rights of women in all spheres, including their rights to substantive equality and non-discrimination,” Miciano added in quoting the Magna Carta of Women.

Other complainants were Ellene Sana, Executive Director of the Center for Migrant Advocacy, Phils. Inc., Janina Luz Cruz Sarmiento, representing the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), Philippines, and Myrna Jimenez, representing SARILAYA.

The complaint stemmed from the Senate blue ribbon committee’s report on its investigation into PhilHealth anomalies back in August 2019. It took the panel a year to finalize the report because of other investigations and the coronavirus pandemic, according to Senator Richard Gordon of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. The committee report read that “on his birthday, Perez received a gift, an enormous box, in his office. A girl, dressed in nothing but her underwear, danced and gyrated provocatively in front of Perez.”

The acts cited in the report pertaining to the purchase of a woman by PhilHealth employees and the condonation of such by the PhilHealth official, fundamentally illustrates that women as a group can be treated as commodities that can be bought and used as entertainment for sexual pleasure.

The CHR, mandated as the Gender and Development Ombud by the Magna Carta of Women, is primarily responsible for investigations and complaints of discrimination and violations of their rights brought under this Act and related laws and regulations.

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[From the web] Amnesty International calls on the Philippine government to cease its relentless efforts to muzzle journalists and media organizations

#HumanRights #FreedomOfThePress

A free press reporting on the issues that interest us and shape our lives is a key building block of any rights-respecting society. Yet many countries including the Philippines, journalists face repression and attacks.

Since the Duterte administration came to power, it has threatened civil liberties on several fronts. Human rights groups have been increasingly undermined and vilified; government critics and activists have been harassed, arbitrarily detained, and killed; journalists and media organizations have been threatened and targeted with lawsuits.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly attacked ABS-CBN for allegedly failing to run his paid political advertisements during the 2016 elections, which he won.

ABS-CBN has produced numerous investigative reports highlighting extrajudicial executions committed as part of the government’s so-called “war on drugs.” Similarly, news website Rappler and Maria Ressa, who have also been critical of the anti-drug campaign in their reporting, are facing a string of lawsuits, including charges of tax evasion, cyber libel and foreign ownership.

Amnesty International calls on the Philippine government to cease its relentless efforts to muzzle journalists and media organizations, and to fulfil its obligations under domestic and international law to safeguard and respect the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.

Source: facebook.com/amnestyph

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[From the web] Online Regional Conference Touts Citizen Science as a People’s Tool for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Environment Online Regional Conference Touts Citizen Science as a People’s Tool for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
(Groups draw on citizen science to address chemical and waste issues that threaten public health and the environment)

The participation of non-professional scientists in scientific research or monitoring efforts can empower grassroots organizations and movements into advancing a sustainable and toxic-free future for all.

Citizen science, as it is generally called, has become a strategic tool enabling communities impacted by chemical and waste problems to empower themselves with data and information that can be used to assert their rights to a healthy and safe environment.

A four-part online regional conference commencing today will put a spotlight on the application of citizen science in addressing such problems affecting mostly poor and marginalized communities, with children, pregnant women and workers at greater risk. It will bring together over 70 citizen science advocates, practitioners and learners from 11 countries.

The International Pollutants Elimination Network – Southeast and East Asia (IPEN-SEA) Virtual Conference that is taking place amid the COVID-19 pandemic is co-organized by Nexus3 Foundation-Indonesia, EcoWaste Coalition-Philippines and the Ecological Alert and Recovery-Thailand with support from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and IPEN.

“Through the years, citizen science has developed into a practical and potent tool for helpless victims who often suffer in silence from the destructive pollution caused by powerful commercial and industrial interests,” noted Penchom Saetang, Executive Director of EARTH and a citizen science practitioner for over 20 years.

“By developing their scientific knowledge, technical skills and critical abilities, pollution victims, or survivors rather, have found their voice and are able to use the results of their own studies to negotiate with polluters, defend their human rights in courts and advocate for policy reforms,” she said.

Added Yuyun Ismawati, Co-Founder and Senior Adviser of Nexus3 Foundation: “In citizen science, grassroot NGOs and community groups are the subject and the actors of the investigation, not a subject of a research project. In many cases, the results of citizen science advocacy works contribute to policy changes at the local and national level.”

In today’s program, examples of citizen science efforts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were presented. Among these efforts were the monitoring of mercury concentrations in air in several healthcare facilities in Denpasar City, Bali, Indonesia, which eventually led to the issuance of a government policy withdrawing mercury-containing medical devices; the screening of playground equipment for lead content in Penang, Malaysia, which further drew attention to the urgency of adopting a regulation banning lead in paint; and the air sampling in Rayong Province, Thailand that detected excessive levels of air pollutants, including cancer-causing benzene and vinyl chloride, which prompted the government to issue a notification on the annual standard level of volatile organic compounds in ambient air for nine highly toxic chemical compounds.

The topic of how citizen science can be used in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is growing in momentum, said Rachel Pateman, a researcher at SEI, University of York. The SDGs, which member states of the United Nations adopted in 2015, seek to end poverty and other deprivations, improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and preserving marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

“Citizen science can help in filling the data gaps to monitor the SDG indicators and in localizing indicator monitoring, especially in under-reported areas. It can help to bring to the fore issues of importance or concern to local communities that may have been missed in higher level discussions. And it can also be a way to bring together different stakeholders, including citizens, to build a shared understanding of and co-develop solutions to sustainability challenges,” said Pateman.

“There is lots of potential for citizen science to be used to monitor, localize, define and implement the SDGs, but there are some critical challenges that need to be addressed in order for this potential to be realized,” she added.

Read complete article @ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[From the web] VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pro-Duterte vlogger misleads in claiming UN resolution proves ‘no EJK’ in PH

#HumanRights #Information VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pro-Duterte vlogger misleads in claiming UN resolution proves ‘no EJK’ in PH

Video blogger (vlogger) Byron Cristobal, a Duterte and Marcos supporter better known as Banat By, misleadingly claimed that the adoption of a resolution calling for the improvement of the human rights situation in the Philippines by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) proved there were no extrajudicial killings in the country.

STATEMENT

In his YouTube vlog running over an hour, Cristobal cited an Inquirer.net article about the UNHRC adoption of the resolution on Oct. 7 at its 45th session. He said:

 “Ito (Here): No EJK. Oh ayan ah (There.). Ito pala iyon (This is it)...Iyan iyong (This is the) 'resolution, which was adopted by consensus (without voting) during the council’s'... 'provide support for the country in its continued fulfillment of its international human rights obligations and commitment(s).' Sa madaling salita, wala naman silang nakitang EJK (In short, they didn’t find any EJK). Yari sila (They’re finished).”

Source: Banat By official YouTube account, WALANG EJK SA PINAS-United Nation (sic) /PIRMA KAY VELASCO OLATS, Oct. 7, 2020, watch from 53:27 to 53:53 

As of Oct. 15, Cristobal’s video has been viewed over 36,630 times. It could have reached more than 6.8 million social media users, with Facebook pages Mocha Uson Blog (which he co-manages), DDS News, and his own Banat By generating the most traffic for the video.

Read full article @https://verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-pro-duterte-vlogger-misleads-claiming

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[From the web] Thailand: More arrests amid ‘drastic’ emergency order banning gatherings -AI

#HumanRights #Solidarity Thailand: More arrests amid ‘drastic’ emergency order banning gatherings

Screen grabbed from http://www.amnesty.org

Responding to news that the Thai authorities have ordered a ban on gatherings of five or more people in Bangkok and on sharing information that “could create fear”, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, said:

“This vague, drastic order will lead to more people unfairly arrested, detained and prosecuted.

“With further public assemblies expected to happen today, we urge the Thai authorities to engage in constructive dialogue with the protesters.

“The scale of today’s early morning arrests seems completely unjustified based on yesterday’s events. The assemblies were overwhelmingly peaceful. These moves are clearly designed to stamp out dissent, and sow fear in anyone who sympathizes with the protesters’ views. Peaceful protesters must be released immediately and unconditionally, and all those detained must have access to legal counsel.

Read complete article @ http://www.amnesty.org

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/10/thailand-more-arrests-amid-drastic-order/?fbclid=IwAR0E5j0DiSYOIGPerwKZnXz6Tvf8t55BobHMrhyZp3LG_RlZQL9uxx5IBYE

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[From the web] Philippine candidate unfit for UN women’s rights body -RAPPLER.com

#HumanRights #Women Philippine candidate unfit for UN women’s rights body

Screen grabbed from Rappler,com

In the coming weeks, 189 countries from around the world will elect 23 members to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) for the 2021-2024 term. The Philippine government recently nominated a career diplomat, Rosario Manalo, for another term on the committee. If elected, she would serve her fourth term in this UN treaty body. She was its chairperson in 2005-2006.

The CEDAW committee plays an influential role, interpreting the widely ratified Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which affects governments’ obligations protecting women’s rights. It also receives and responds to individual complaints.

While the Philippine government hails Manalo as a champion of women’s rights, her recent record is one of undermining human rights and attacking rights groups – which disqualifies her from continuing in this capacity.

Read complete article @ Rappler.com

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[From the web] UN resolution a missed chance for justice but scrutiny continues -AIph

#HumanRights #StopTheKillings [From the web] UN resolution a missed chance for justice but scrutiny continues

The resolution on the Philippines adopted by the UN Human Rights Council today is a missed opportunity to seek justice for thousands of unlawful killings, said Amnesty International.

Rather than launching the much-needed comprehensive investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, the UN resolution – led jointly by Iceland and the Philippines – requests the UN Human Rights Office to support the Philippines through ‘technical assistance’. This assistance will be focused on areas including accountability; data gathering of violations by the police; civic space; counter-terrorism legislation, and a rights-based approach to drug control.

“The human rights situation in the Philippines warrants more than just ‘technical assistance’ from the UN. A full international investigation to effectively address the pervasive impunity in the country is urgently needed,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Philippines Researcher at Amnesty International.

The resolution falls far short of repeated calls by civil society and UN experts for an independent, international investigation into the serious ongoing human rights violations in the country, including the thousands of extrajudicial executions perpetrated by police and vigilantes linked to them in the context of the so-called “war on drugs”.

“The Human Rights Council failed to advance justice for bereaved families across the Philippines who had placed their hopes in the international community,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard.

“This weak resolution also lets down the brave human rights defenders, journalists and others who have engaged with the UN in good faith and pursue their work at huge personal risk.”

Amnesty International has seen a continued deterioration of the human rights situation in the Philippines over the last few months. Major warning signs include ongoing incitement to kill by President Duterte, the promotion to national police chief of Lt Gen Camilo Cascolan, an alleged architect of the deadly anti-drug campaign, and the adoption of a dangerous anti-terror law. In June 2020, well-known journalist Maria Ressa was convicted for ‘cyber libel’, and a month after, major media network ABS-CBN was shut down. There is also a new spike in police killings, and there have been brutal murders of human rights and political activists and of a journalist in recent months.

This critical state of affairs was detailed by Amnesty International in a briefing published last week, “My Job is to Kill”, named after a speech by President Duterte in March 2020.

“The states that negotiated with the Philippines to agree to this resolution have a responsibility to launch a full international investigation if there is no radical improvement in the human rights situation in the country. These states face a credibility test: how will they respond if the bloody wave of killings continue, and the brutal crackdown on civil society and the media rages on?”

Despite its major shortcomings, the resolution includes measures that task the UN Human Rights Office to continue to provide updates to the Council over the next two years.

“The decision to keep the Philippines on the Council’s agenda sends a clear message to the Duterte administration that the international community is still watching,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard.

“The months to come must see an immediate end to the wave of drug-related killings, the cessation of violent attacks against critics of the government, as well as a halt to the crackdown on press freedom in the Philippines.

“While the government’s tactics to delay an international investigation may have worked this time, the moment will come when justice will be done.”

Read full article @www.amnesty.org

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[From the web] Violence between state forces and the NPA puts indigenous peoples lives at risk -AIph

Violence between state forces and the NPA puts indigenous peoples lives at risk
4 September 2020

Responding to reports of escalating violence in Surigao del Sur between government security forces and the New People’s Army (NPA) which led to the killing of two young indigenous people, Amnesty International Philippines Director, Butch Olano, said:

“Violence between state forces and non-state actors in Surigao del Sur has continued to build up after the Anti-Terrorism Law was enacted in July, with reports of more indigenous communities at risk of getting caught in the crossfire. Amnesty International Philippines has received reports of harassment perpetrated both by the military and NPA where a large number of residents have been internally displaced due to armed violence in the area. Incidents of killings of civilians, some of young indigenous people, are very concerning.

“State forces must not forget to uphold the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law as part of any counter-insurgency strategy. The government should recognize that clashes between state forces and armed groups drastically affect the lives and livelihood of civilians, and must adopt a concrete plan for the internally displaced or those who are forced to flee out of fear for their lives and safety. Such a plan must be developed in full consultation with affected communities.

“Amnesty International Philippines is calling on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), as the main government agency tasked with protecting the interests of Indigenous peoples, to do its job in preventing rights violations against IP groups in the affected areas.

“We denounce indiscriminate attacks brought about by military operations, as well as attacks targeting the general population carried out by non-state actors. We call on the military and the NPA to refrain from any attack of this nature. All attacks targeting members of the general population must be promptly and effectively investigated, those suspected of responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials; the human rights of the victims of such attacks must also be respected and fulfilled.

“Amnesty International Philippines is concerned that the hastily enacted Anti-Terrorism Act is being used as an excuse to violate human rights. The government should ensure that all measures taken against non-state actors fully comply with their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and that the Anti-Terrorism Act does not lead to further human rights abuses.”

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Violence between state forces and the NPA puts indigenous peoples lives at risk

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