[ADN Statement] Terrorist Labeling of Indigenous Rights and UN Representative Shows Inauspicious State of Human Rights in the Philippines

PRESS STATEMENT

TERRORIST LABELING OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND UN REPRESENTATIVE SHOWS INAUSPICIOUS STATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Seoul, 15 March 2018. The Asia Democracy Network expresses deep regret over the decision by the Philippine government declaring over 600 individuals including indigenous rights groups and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz, as “terrorist”. Such a move poses a direct attack on human rights organizations and undermines international institutions.

This is a virtual political hit list and bolsters suspicions of President Duterte’s plan to brook no opposition and further consolidate his authoritarian tendencies.  The labeling of individuals and organizations as “terrorists” will give the government the authority to closely monitor, track finances, and place heavy limitations on their access to resources.

The current assault on the independence of government institutions to check and balance such draconian policies causes great disappointment for Democrats around the world who have looked up to the Philippines as the champion of democracy in the region. The regression of democracy in the Philippines tarnishes the country’s rich history of the people power revolution that returned formal democracy to the country after more than two decades long dictatorship of the then Marcos regime. The Philippine People Power uprising inspired similar movements in the region in the 1980’s.

Democracy and human rights principles should never be compromised. ADN stands in solidarity with the people of the Philippines in restoring and strengthening peace, democracy, and human rights. We will closely monitor and continue to advocate the international community on the situation in the Philippines.

Asia Democracy Network