Human rights in the Philippines: Latest news, campaigns


What you need to know

The Philippines' human rights situation is dire, with the number of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, and attacks against activists and critics unparalleled since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

This is made worse by the Duterte government's inadequate and militarized response to the pandemic that has brought us to this: more than a million COVID-19 cases by May 2. Failed contact tracing, confusing protocols, delayed assistance to those who needed it most, incoherent policies, lack of transparency, and a slow vaccine rollout – all these have led to the abuse of basic human rights: the right to live, to work, to study, and to be protected by the state.

What can we do?

Several human rights groups and organizations including MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, have banded together for the “#CourageON: No lockdown on rights” coalition. The coalition aims to keep watch on abuses and violations and identify opportunities for collective action to promote and defend human rights.

Bookmark and refresh this page for campaigns, action points, and insights from partners of the #CourageON coalition, as well as news updates on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Latest updates

Karapatan to receive William D. Zabel Human Rights Award

Karapatan will be receiving the annual William D. Zabel Human Rights Award for its commitment to human rights in the Philippines.

In an announcement made on May 5, Human Rights First said it had chosen to present the award to Karapatan because of its "tremendous respect and admiration" for the human rights organization.

"They (Karapatan) are human rights defenders whom the government of Philippines regularly targets, and we hope this award, and our ongoing partnership, helps shine a bright light on their efforts and shields them from additional threats," said Michael Breen, president and CEO of Human Rights First.

The William D. Zabel Human Rights Award has been acknowledging for more than three decades the work of activists on the frontlines of the struggle for freedom and human rights.

Human rights organization Karapatan has more than 40 member-organizations and 16 regional chapters across the Philippines working on addressing extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, political prisoners, and militarization in the country. 

It is also a member of the #CourageON: No lockdown on rights coalition, which aims to keep watch on abuses and violations, and identify opportunities for collective action to promote and defend human rights in the Philippines.

Read more here

#CourageOn coalition to Duterte gov't: No excuse for abuse during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is not an excuse for the Duterte government to violate human rights of Filipinos, a coalition said on Wednesday, May 5.

“#CourageON: No lockdown on rights” coalition, composed of human rights groups and organizations, condemned the widespread attacks and abuse seen in the Philippines amid a health crisis.

"Hindi niyo maaaring alisin ang karapatan nating magtanong, mag-usisa, at humingi ng kasagutan sa mga nangyayari sa mga panahong ito," writer-director Bibeth Orteza of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) said.

(You cannot take away our right to ask, scrutinize, and ask for solutions to what is happening in our country now.)

The coalition led by MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, aims to keep a close eye on abuses and violations in the country. It also seeks to pursue opportunities for collective action to promote and protect human rights.

Aside from MovePH and CAP, the “#CourageON: No lockdown on rights” coalition also includes the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Coalition for People's Right to Health, DAKILA, Karapatan, Ateneo Human Rights Center, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, and the 2030 Youth Force Philippines.

Read the full story here.

Jodesz Gavilan

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