On International Human Rights Day (10 December) 53 BWI affiliates in 42 countries have taken action demanding an end to human rights violations and trade union repression in the Philiipines. Actions included rallies outside Philippine Embassies, delivering letters condemning the actions of the Duterte Government and displays of solidarity from the workplace.
In Geneva, Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI joined Valter Sanchez, General Secretary of IndustriALL, Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of PSI, and Teresa Casertano, Head of UNI ICTS handed a letter to Ambassador Evan Garcia on behalf of the Council of Global Unions.
“The whole world is watching, and, has roundly condemned the violence and intimidation imposed on labour and peasant organisers in the Philippines, along with environment defenders and other activists,” said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “Under this Government, progress on human and labour rights has moved swiftly backwards. I wish to thank all the BWI affiliates for taking this stand for the people of the Philippines, who deserve better.”
Since the beginning of the Duterte Presidency in 2016, 43 leaders, activists and members of workers’ organisations have been killed for doing their job of organising and representing working people. This alarming statistic sits against the backdrop of the so-called “war on drugs”, which is understood to have killed as many as 29,000 people without subsequent investigations. “This is a war on the people of the Philippines, while the perpetrators of these crimes have not being pursued by authorities while workers’ rights are being trampled,” continued Yuson. “We are calling on the Government to bring this to an end.”
“In particular we are demanding they take action to stop these attacks and the ‘red-tagging’ of legitimate trade union organisations and activists, to implement the June 2019 recommendations from the ILO Committee of Application of Standards, and to accept the ILO Mission to visit the country at the soonest possible time.”