Karapatan calls on Filipinos to unite in the call to #JunkTerrorLaw on last Human Rights Day under Duterte

Human rights alliance Karapatan joined various groups and formations in calling on all Filipinos to “unite for justice and democracy and to stand against tyranny and dictatorship” in the coming mass actions to mark the last International Human Rights Day under the Duterte administration, especially amid the looming announcement of the Supreme Court en banc’s decision on the 37 petitions seeking to declare the Anti-Terrorism Act unconstitutional as well as the tandem of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte in the 2022 national elections.

“We have seen how Filipinos from all walks of life made their voices loud and clear as they stood united in ringing the call to junk Duterte’s terror law. This International Human Rights Day, with the Supreme Court expected to come out with its decision on the draconian law anytime soon, we are once again called to unite to defend our hard-won rights and freedoms by asserting the call to junk the terror law, to resist all efforts for a Marcos restoration and Duterte extension in 2022, and to make Duterte pay for his crimes against the Filipino people,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay urged.

Karapatan and various human rights groups will come together at the University of the Philippines Diliman on Friday to mark the last International Human Rights Day under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte — whose term has been marked by systemic and blatant violations of civil and political rights, from the thousands of poor killed in the sham and bloody drug war to the extrajudicial killings and illegal arrests of human rights defenders and activists in the government’s brutal counterinsurgency campaign.

The Karapatan also called Duterte’s attendance in the Summit for Democracy today convened by United States President Joe Biden a “complete farce” for Duterte to cover up the dismal situation of human rights in the country: “You cannot call it a ‘Summit for Democracy’ when a despot and mass murderer, someone like Duterte — who is subject of complaints before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity — is in attendance. Allowing Duterte to participate in this summit is tantamount to enabling his lies and undemocratic rule in the Philippines.”

“If Biden is truly seeking a ‘partnership in working to build democratic and human rights-respecting societies,’ as he wrote in his invitation to Duterte for this ‘Summit for Democracy,’ the United States must suspend its billions of security aid to the Philippine police and military and pass the proposed Philippine Human Rights Act. The United States’ aid, funded by the taxes of the American people, has only been used by Duterte’s administration to engender human rights violations and war crimes for the past six years. It is high time for the United States to end its support for Duterte’s tyrannical rule,” she asserted.

“On the last International Human Rights Day under Duterte, we call on all Filipinos to unite as we give our final verdict on the true situation of human rights and democracy in the country — which has been six years of State terror, violence, and repression. With the terror law in place and with a Marcos-Duterte victory in 2022, we can only expect the continuity and perpetuation of impunity for these atrocities, that would plunge the country back to the dark days of Marcosian martial rule. We must act now and fight back together to ensure that Duterte is held to account for his crimes,” Palabay ended.