About 120 rights advocates from over 30 organizations across the globe committed to continuing solidarity with the Filipino people for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines in a conference in Bangkok, Thailand from November 7 to 9.
The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said it condemns the United States-backed counterinsurgency program of the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government that continues to commit human rights and international humanitarian law against the people.
In the conference, Philippine and international experts and leaders said the counterinsurgency program is implemented through ongoing extra-judicial killings, disappearances, suppression of civil liberties, filing of trumped-up charges using the Anti-Terror Act (ATA), and the relentless red-tagging of activists, progressive organizations, and solidarity activists by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict
Karapatan National Council member Edith Burgos saidthe Marcos government is, “responsible for the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines and escalating violations of International Humanitarian Law directed against the Filipino people.”
Burgos said human rights atrocities committed by the Philippine military and police are not only abetted by US military and is made worse by the presence of nine US military bases in the country.
The US has given the Philippine government over 1 billion US dollars in military said since 2015, she revealed.
Suzanne Adely, President of the National Lawyers Guild of the US, said the American government has employed “the organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control” of the Philippines since 1898.
She pointed out the governments’ use of the term “insurgency” attempts to delegitimize people’s resistance, including armed resistance, as “terrorism.”
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia meanwhile explained that contrary to US counterinsurgency doctrine, armed resistance movements in response to the severe oppression of peoples is legal under the Geneva conventions.
He emphasized the importance of the protection of civilians and non combatants in the context of civil war.
ICHRP chairperson Peter Murphy said international solidarity is critical in supporting the Filipino people’s aspirations for a just and lasting peace as well as a nation free from poverty, landlessness, and state repression.
“The devastating number of attacks that continue under the Marcos regime in the Philippines – the many disappearances, the forced surrenderees, and the killings of NDFP peace consultants, are all violations of international humanitarian law done in the guise of US-designed counterinsurgency programs. The international community must oppose these,” the group said.
ICHRP said its member organizations from four continents have again committed to strengthening solidarity support for the Filipino people.
It added it shall continue to conduct broad education and information dissemination on the situation in the Philippines, lobby their respective government bodies, and oppose foreign support for war crimes in the country.
“The struggle for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines is not a struggle isolated from the people of the world; we will continue to fervently campaign until the demands of the Filipino people are met and activists no longer live in fear of reprisal,” ICHRP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)