by PhilRights Staff
Welcome to HR Insights, a weekly roundup of human rights news in the Philippines. This week…
Amnesty Int’l to PH gov’t: stop harassment of foreign activists
Amnesty International (AI) called on the Philippine government to stop the harassment of Filipino and foreign activists who engage in political protests. This happened after another foreign activist was expelled from the country, following the deportation of Sister Patricia Fox and three other Methodist missionaries.
According to the rights group, this act of repression to the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of activists might have a negative effect in the activities of human rights advocates in the country.
In a Philippine Star article, AI stressed: “[They] may now decide to reduce their activities in the country for fear of the action the Philippine authorities might take against them.”
AI also asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) stop the expulsion of foreign activists on the basis of their engagements in protests.
PNP: war on drugs now ‘less bloody’
According to ABS-CBN News, Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson Superintendent Bong Durana said that from an average of 105 deaths per week during the period of July to October 2016, the count is now down to six deaths daily – making this drug war ‘less bloody.’
Durana continues to claim that the PNP is serious in its efforts, adding that the police are “one in protecting the human rights and constitutional rights not only of the accused but also our law enforcers.”
Durana was also quoted by Rappler as admitting that killings will continue to happen: “This is not heaven. This is the real world, that people will die in the process.”
The death toll of the so-called drug war is still a contentious issue, with human rights groups estimating much higher death rates than what the government has claimed.
Outgoing UN Human Rights Chief: ‘My job is not to defend governments’
Before stepping down as the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein sat down with Al Jazeera for an interview regarding human rights situations particularly in Syria, North Korea, and Israel.
During the interview, al-Hussein discussed the refugee crisis__that it usually arises from chauvinistic nationalism, bigotry, and racism. He also mentioned the initiatives of the UN in probing the human rights abuses and in calling for accountability from North Korea and Syria.
Al-Hussein was often critiqued by governments due to his work as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. For the outgoing chief, however, his job is to ensure that human rights are being upheld in every nation. If the case is otherwise, his job is to defend the rights of the victims of these states.
“My job is not to defend governments, they can do that themselves, my job was to defend the rights of everyone else, individuals,” al-Hussein insited.
MUST READ: Harry Roque is the Sara Huckabee Sanders of the Philippines
Politico Magazine described Harry Roque as the Philippines’ Sara Huckabee Sanders – the Press Secretary of United States President Donald Trump.
Before, Roque was a human rights lawyer known to be fearless in fighting for the cases of his clients. He handled high-profile cases, including the Maguindanao massacre. Nowadays, he speaks for the Philippine President who usually attacks the free press and orders killings.