ATM Statement on UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review
ATM Press Statement | November 11, 2022
As the UN Human Rights Council conducts its Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines’ human rights record for the fourth time on Monday, November 14 in Geneva, Alyansa Tigil Mina called on the human rights body to take action on the shrinking civic space and the alarming situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines.
Since the start of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, democratic spaces have become smaller and smaller as dissenters and critics are demonized, harassed and even incarcerated, such as the case of former Senator Leila de Lima.
Up to the current administration of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, red-tagging has persisted and has been used as a strategy to suppress criticisms against ineffective programs, graft and corruption, and government inaction. There is very limited space for intervention by civil society organizations and formed associations have easily become targets of red-baiting.
The Philippines has also become a dangerous place for environmental activists. It has been listed the deadliest country in Asia for land and environmental defenders for the ninth consecutive year. It is the fourth deadliest country in the world, following Mexico, Columbia and Brazil.
According to a report by international organization Global Witness, 19 environmentalists were killed in the Philippines last year, with more than a quarter of killings linked to mining.
The organization found that 80% of killings over the past decade in the Philippines were linked to protests against company operations and that a third of the killings are linked to mining. Global Witness writes: "impunity is rife: it is suspected that state forces are behind the majority of killings in the few cases where the identity of the perpetrators is documented."
Alyansa Tigil Mina called on the UN Human Rights Council to emphasize these issues in its periodic review. It also called on the UN body to galvanize the international community to act on the gruesome human rights situation in the Philippines.