On Sunday 17th March, Manila moved to quit the International Criminal Court after the body launched a preliminary examination in 2018 into President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug crackdown that has killed thousands and drawn international censure.
The human rights crisis in the Philippines unleashed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016 and deepened in 2018 as Duterte continued his murderous “war on drugs” in the face of mounting international criticism.
Duterte announced that the Philippines would withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) “effective immediately”. A big number of the people killed never faced conviction but were sentenced to death by the police or unknown hitmen, representing a clear breach of basic human rights. Rather than targeting drug lords and other syndicated big-time suppliers of drugs, this campaign preyed on those with lower incomes and those who live in poorer areas, and shrinkage the space of the civil society and the trade unions, working for developing and guaranteeing the rights of the citizens in the country. Duterte's propaganda machine has also distorted the public discourse on the civil society organisation and the no-profit organisation.
Civil society is suffering first hand from the consequences of the “war on drugs”. Citizens were promised safety, but the violent implementation of the campaign shows the complete opposite. In Caloocan, one of the biggest cities with urban poor communities, seven people were killed every night at the height of the killings. Through the bogey of “fighting” money laundering, the circular threatens to limit the already narrowing spaces for civil society in the Philippines, while impinging on the people’s foundational rights to assemble and to organise.
The Akbayan party, that have been struggling under the regime of Duterte and that are even refused to get international support, declared that “This is the most advanced treaty that protects citizens vs impunity where despotic leaders aren’t accountable to the people & the law. It is alarming that they run roughshod over the rights of people by disregarding the rule of law for vested interests”.
SOLIDAR stands in solidarity with all its Akbayan friends and Human Rights heroes such as Senator Risa Hontiveros that stand firm to guarantee democracy and human rights respect in the country.
SOLIDAR expresses its support to the struggle of independent and progressive civil society in the Philippines, risking their lives to defend human rights and the people who fight for them. All of them have an important message to deliver and provide inspiration for our work in and around the European institutions, for more social justice in Europe and worldwide.