Karapatan lauds US legislators in calling for targeted sanctions vs PH gov’t officials on HR violations

Photo from La Lucha

Photo from La Lucha

Human rights alliance Karapatan lauded the efforts of United States legislators, particularly the 24 representatives in the US Congress led by Pennsylvania 7th District Rep. Susan Wild, urging US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to impose targeted sanctions using the US Global Magnitsky Act on five individual Philippine government officials alleged to be responsible for human rights violations during the Duterte administration.

“Such actions led by Rep. Susan Wild, along with her efforts to reintroduce the Philippine Human Rights Act in the US Congress, further demonstrate that the international community can undertake meaningful steps on the human rights crisis in the Philippines. These targeted sanctions help bring to fore the need to look into the acts and policies implemented by the Duterte administration that has resulted in extrajudicial killings, arbitrary or illegal arrests and detention, enforced disappearances and other grave human rights violations,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

On January 24, 2022, the US legislators sent the letter to US executive officials citing reports from human rights groups like the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch on “widespread harassment, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and assassination of journalists, dissidents, opposition leaders, members of the clergy, and labor organizers and leaders.”

“State forces continue to use ‘red-tagging,’ a practice in which activists and human rights groups are demonized and characterized as terrorists, as a pre-emptive move leading up to targeted assassinations, arrest without cause or other human rights abuses,” the legislators added.

Named in the said letter are Secretary of Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesman Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and former police chief Debold Sinas.

“Those behind these corrosive violations should no longer operate with impunity. In our stand for democracy, the United States cannot overlook the crisis in the Philippines, and we must take tangible action if we are to truly stand for human rights and the flourishing of freedom around the world. To this end, we urge the imposition of sanctions on individuals who are behind these major human rights violations, particularly via the use of the Global Magnitsky Act,” they stated.

Karapatan emphasized that “as the end of the Duterte administration draws near, steps towards accountability will not relent as thousands of victims and their families and communities continue to suffer and are left with dysfunctional domestic redress mechanisms that have not delivered justice.”

“The efforts at the International Criminal Court and the UN Office of the High Commissioner, along with initiatives to pursue independent investigations by the UN Human Rights Council and of other governments, contribute to the strong clamor of peoples within and outside the Philippines to put a stop to the killings and other rights violations,” Palabay added.

“The situation is increasingly worrisome as Duterte and his ilk attempt to evade accountability through the electoral bids of his allies like the Marcoses and that of his daughter. We enjoin the international community to keep vigil with the Filipino people and stand with those who were ravaged by the murderous policies of this administration,” she concluded.

Rep. Susan Wild released this statement on January 27, 2022 along with the copy of the legislators’ letter: https://wild.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-wild-leads-call-action-against-philippines-human-rights-violations