Tag Archives: CIVICUS

[Statement] Rights organisations call for release of activist Teresita Naul on her first anniversary in detention | civicus and omct

#HumanRights #RedTagging

Philippines: Rights organisations call for release of activist Teresita Naul on her first anniversary in detention

Ahead of human rights defender Teresita Naul’s first anniversary in detention on 15 March 2021, civil society alliance CIVICUS and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) call for her immediate release.

Teresita Naul was arrested on 15 March 2020 in Lanao del Sur, on the southern island of Mindanao, by the national police and the Philippines Army (AFP) on fabricated charges of “kidnapping”, “destructive arson” and “serious illegal detention”. Police claim she is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA), an armed Communist rebel group responsible for an attack on the military in Agusan del Sur in December 2018, although there is evidence proving that she was in another part of the country on that day.

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[Off-the-shelf] Activists and Journalists Targeted as Draconian Anti-Terror Law Challenged in the Philippines -CIVICUS Monitor

#HumanRights #TerrorLaw

Activists and Journalists Targeted as Draconian Anti-Terror Law Challenged in the Philippines

Screen grabbed from CIVICUS Monitor website

Philippines’ civic space rating was downgraded by the CIVICUS Monitor in early December 2020 from ‘obstructed’ to ‘repressed’. The rating change was driven by attacks on human rights defenders and journalists, the vilification and criminalisation of activists, the assault on press freedom, and the passage of new draconian anti-terror law.

On 15th December 2020, the office of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor said there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity were committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

In January 2021, Investigate PH, a group of individuals and civil society groups, formally launched an independent international probe into the human rights situation in the Philippines. Organised by US-based International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), the group is composed of representatives from various lawyers’ and faith-based groups, as well as trade unions in the United States, Canada and Australia. It said it would release three reports to be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The first two reports will be released for upcoming UNHRC sessions in March and July 2021. The group will also submit findings to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In recent months, human rights defenders, trade unions and journalists have been arrested on fabricated charges or killed. The Department of National Defence terminated a decades-old agreement that prohibits state forces from entering University of the Philippines’ campuses without prior notice to school officials while security forces raided an indigenous Lumad school in Cebu City. Civil society groups are challenging the draconian anti-terror law in the Supreme Court.

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[From the web] Human rights organisations call for release of activist Teresita Naul ahead of court case and major global campaign #StandAsMyWitness -CIVICUS

Image from CIVICUS

Human rights organisations call for release of activist Teresita Naul ahead of court case and major global campaign #StandAsMyWitness

CIVICUS, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Karapatan and other human rights organisations in the Philippines call for the release of Teresita Naul, a human rights defender from the Philippines, ahead of her court case on 17 July, and the launch of a global campaign featuring Naul and other imprisoned human rights defenders.

Naul was arrested on 15 March 2020 in Lanao del Sur, on the southern island of Mindanao, by the police and Philippines Army (AFP) on charges of kidnapping, destructive arson, and serious illegal detention. Police claim she is a member of the New People’s Army, an armed rebel group responsible for an attack on the military in Agusan del Sur in December 2018.

However, at the time of the incident, she was at St Ignatius Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City to undergo a medical examination. Many of her co-accused are human rights activists, nuns, lawyers, and public sector employees.

Naul has dedicated her life to protecting the poorest and the most marginalised. She advocates for their right to health and other basic social services:

“Teresita, a women human rights defender should never have been detained in the first place, and we call for her immediate and unconditional release. Her case highlights the increasing use of trumped-up charges to silence those speaking up peacefully to exercise their freedom of expression,” said Josef Benedict, Asia-Pacific civic space researcher for CIVICUS.

Naul, aged 62, suffers from asthma and bronchitis. She is being detained in Agusan del Sur Provincial jail where her health has deteriorated in the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Family members and lawyers have been denied access to Naul and say they fear for her life:

“My mother is frail and her health is declining by the day. She has a breathing disorder and is constantly exhausted after being made to clean toilets. Authorities should let her stay at home under house arrest during her trial. Imprisonment is putting her life at risk,” said Ana Naul, daughter of Teresita Naul.

“Nanay Tessie” (“Mother Tessie”), as Naul is commonly known, is one of a group of leading human rights defenders who will feature prominently in a global campaign called #StandAsMyWitness. The campaign will be launched by CIVICUS, Amnesty International, OMCT and FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) on Nelson Mandela Day, 18 July.

30 years after Mr Mandela was released from prison, human rights activists and prisoners of conscience are still being locked up, persecuted or killed for seeking social, political, economic, gender, and environmental justice.

The #StandAsMyWitness campaign urges people to sign a petition calling for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of human rights defenders. People are also encouraged to share the defenders’ individual stories on social media using the hashtag #StandAsMyWitness.

Endorsed by:
Karapatan Alliance Philippines
Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women) – Philippines
Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA)
Hustisya Philippines
OMCT

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

More details about the #StandAsMyWitness campaign can be found online here.

Teresita Naul also features in OMCT’s #FacesOfHope campaign, calling for the release of all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained worldwide, including those in pre-trial detention.

ABOUT CIVICUS
CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. CIVICUS has 10,000 members worldwide.

CIVICUS Monitor is an online platform that tracks the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression in countries across the world. The Philippines’ civic space rating is ‘obstructed’ and it was put on the civic space Watchlist in June 2020.

Visit CIVICUS @www.civicus.org

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Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Press Release] The Philippines added to human rights watchlist -CIVICUS

The Philippines added to human rights watchlist
29 June 2020

• Independent media and journalists are being targeted for their reporting

• COVID 19 emergency powers and new anti-terrorism bill puts human rights at further risk.

• The state of civic freedoms in the Philippines is rated as OBSTRUCTED by the CIVICUS Monitor

The Philippines has been added to a watchlist of countries which have seen a rapid decline in fundamental democratic freedoms in recent months. Attacks on press freedom and the use of the pandemic to crackdown on dissent have contributed to a narrowing of civic space in the country.

The new watchlist is released by the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks the latest developments to civic freedoms, such as the freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government declared a state of emergency on 25th March 2020 and granted President Duterte special powers by passing an emergency law. Among the provisions in the law is one penalizing the spreading of “false information” online which could be used to curtail freedom of speech and silence the media. Journalists have since been targeted.

Press freedom has also been under attack in recent months with ABS-CBN, the largest media network forced off the air, depriving citizens of critical information during the pandemic. Further, the conviction of prominent journalist Maria Ressa who was found guilty of ‘cyber libel’ has created a chilling effect among journalists.

The government is also on the verge of enacting a controversial new Anti-Terrorism Act, which would give law enforcement agencies broad surveillance powers and allow the police to arrest people without a warrant. There are concerns that the law has been designed to target critics of the government, not terrorists. Protests against the bill have been met with the police force.

In the coming weeks and months, the CIVICUS Monitor will closely track developments in the Philippines and engage with the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will hold its 44th Session from 29 June to 17 July in Geneva, Switzerland.

In June 2020, the UN released a report detailing widespread human rights violations and persistent impunity in the Philippines including the phenomenon of “red-tagging” – labeling individuals including human rights defenders as communists or terrorists – which has posed a serious threat to civil society. The report will be debated at the Human Rights Council at the upcoming Session, where CIVICUS will continue to call for an independent investigation into ongoing violations perpetrated by the government.

The Philippines is currently rated OBSTRUCTED by the CIVICUS Monitor. This rating is typically given to countries where civic space is heavily contested by power holders, who impose a combination of legal and practical constraints on the full enjoyment of fundamental rights.

Weblink: https://monitor.civicus.org/watch-list/

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Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[From the web] Despite progress on HRD bill, attacks against activists and media persist in the Philippines -CIVICUS

Human rights defender protection bill closer to becoming law

On 3rd June 2019, in ongoing effort to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) from continued attacks and harassment, the Philippines House of Representatives unanimously approved a Human Rights Defenders bill. Although the bill only becomes law once the Senate and President approves it, the recent decision by the House has brought the country one step closer towards its passage.

The bill includes the recognition of the rights for HRDs to form organisations, receive resources, disseminate information, communicate with international bodies and the right peaceful assemble, as well the country’s obligation to respect and protect human rights defenders. Once signed into law, the Bill will create a Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee chaired by a Commissioner from the National Commission on Human Rights and six members who will be jointly nominated by concerned civil society organisations.

A counterpart bill is pending with the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights since it was presented by Senator De Lima in February 2018. A reconciliation of the Senate and House of Representatives Bills will ultimately constitute law in the Philippines.

Read more @monitor.civicus.org

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
Include your full name, e-mail address and contact number.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.