BWI welcomes EU parliament’s resolution vs. human rights abuses in the Philippines

BWI welcomed the passage of a European Parliament resolution expressing deep concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte. It joins the Council of Global Unions (CGU), which it is a part of, in condemning the Philippine government’s continued attacks on democratic institutions and its relentless suppression of the democratic rights of Filipino workers. 

The resolution, which was voted by an overwhelming majority of 626 European parliamentarians, was the product of consultations with BWI, Philippine trade unions, human rights defenders and civil society groups. It called on the Philippine government to adopt and implement all the recommendations provided by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of June 2020, such as condemning the thousands of extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations in the country, and to carry out impartial and independent investigations into the death of political activists and dissidents. 

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson welcomed the resolution. He said that it is a bold and encouraging move to defend human rights in the country and reflective of the Filipino people’s struggle against modern-day dictatorship. 

Yuson also supported the EU parliamentarians' call to the European Commission to initiate the procedure to temporarily revoke the Philippines’ GSP+ preferences as a response to the country’s poor human rights record. 

“This resolution is certainly a big boost in building momentum in the struggle against dictatorship in the Philippines. The writing on the wall is clear. Unless President Duterte abandons his authoritarian ways, the international community, in solidarity with the Filipino people, will continue to impose stronger measures,” Yuson said. 

The resolution also called on the government to drop all politically motivated charges against Senator Leila de Lima and to release her while she awaits trial. The resolution also expressed alarm over the deteriorating level of press freedom in the Philippines and condemned the persecution of Maria Ressa and other Filipino journalists, as well as the denial of franchise to ABS-CBN.

Likewise, the resolution expressed its concern over the passage of the Anti-Terror Law, asserting that in no circumstance can advocacy, protest, dissent, strikes and other similar exercise of civil and political rights can be considered terrorist acts.

The EU parliamentarians called on the EU and its Member States to support the adoption of resolution at the ongoing 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent international investigation into human rights violations committed in the Philippines since 2016.