By PhilRights Staff
Welcome to HR Insights, a weekly roundup of human rights news in the Philippines. This week…
Amnesty International 2017 report: Drug killings “may have constituted crimes against humanity”
Amnesty International (AI), a Nobel Prize-winning human rights organization, did not mince words in its assessment of the Philippines’ human rights situation in 2017.
AI’s 2017 report titled “The State of the World’s Human Rights” described the killings as “deliberate, unlawful and widespread” saying that these deaths “appeared to be systematic, planned, organized and encouraged by the authorities, and may have constituted crimes against humanity.”
Beyond the killings, AI also said that the nationwide anti-illegal drugs campaign also “undermined people’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” by forcing drug offenders “into compulsory and inadequate treatment and rehabilitation initiatives.”
The section on the Philippines also highlighted continuing concerns about the state of freedom on expression, noting that human rights defenders “faced threats and intimidation,” and that there are “increased numbers of arbitrary arrests and detention, and extrajudicial executions of political activists and individuals aligned with the left.”
The report also decried the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao “amid concerns that military rule could allow for further human rights abuses,” adding that the five months of fighting in Marawi has led to accusations that torture and extrajudicial executions were committed by military forces.
Other issues highlighted include the proposed, but thankfully stalled, measures to reimpose the death penalty and lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to nine years old.
CHR calls on government to ensure OFWs safety
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reminded the government to ensure that labor-receiving countries for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can guarantee the protection of their rights.
The statement follows the gruesome killing of Filipino domestic helper Joanna Demafelis in the hands of her employers in Kuwait.
The Inquirer reported CHR’s statement, issued by Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, saying that the amended Migrant Workers’ Act specifies that guarantees such as labor and social laws for workers should be demanded from countries that recruit and host OFWs.
Said Pimentel-Gana: “The law is very clear. For it to be properly implemented, we need stronger and sustainable partnerships between and among government and the private sector, as well as civil society and OFW groups, to ensure that migrant workers’ rights are being monitored.”
Greenpeace calls on Shell Philippines: “People and planet, not profit”
Greenpeace activists climbed a jetty at Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation’s refinery in Batangas, unfurling a banner with read “PEOPLE AND PLANET, NOT PROFIT.”
The demonstration is part of Greenpeace’s campaign to pressure the oil giant to attend public hearings in March, in connection with the investigation by the Commission on Human Rights into the “responsibility of the Carbon Majora for Human Rights Violations or Threats of Violations Resulting from the Impacts of Climate Change.”
The oil giant is one of 47 companies subject to the investigation, a world-first in terms of scope and possible impact on climate justice. BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ENI, ExxonMobil, Glencore, OMV, Repsol, Sasol, Suncor, Total and RWE are also named in the complaint filed in 2015 for climate-related human rights harms.
The investigation will lead to an issuance of recommendations by 2019, which Greenpeace believes “will have the potential to shift global understanding of corporate responsibility for climate change.”
“Shell and other big fossil fuel companies continue to line their own pockets at the expense of people and the environment! People are suffering as a result – from more destructive typhoons, less fish due to warming oceans, and declining food production due to drought or heavier rainfall,” said Desiree Llanos Dee, Climate Justice Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippines.
Greenpeace is also asking the public to put pressure on Shell to own up to their responsibility and show up at the public hearings in March.
Must Watch: Al Jazeera’s Inside Story looks at the rise in global human rights violations
Taking off from the just released Amnesty International (AI) report on human rights in 2017, Al Jazeera’s Inside Story invited Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, Benjamin Zawacki, human rights researcher and advocate, and Amal De Chickera, cofounder of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, for a panel discussion.
The panelists tackle AI’s assertion that world leaders such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and our own President Duterte, are undermining human rights. They also explore whether protest movements and activism across the globe will be enough to “turn the tide on human rights violations.”