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Trade Unionists, HR Advocates Across Asia Pacific Support Filipinos' Call To Junk Anti-Terrorism Act

As the new Anti-Terrorism Act in the Philippines takes effect today, July 18, various trade union leaders, human rights advocates and activists from Asia Pacific expressed their solidarity and support to the Filipino people’s call to junk the said law.

From Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, various leaders and supporters shared their short video messages, which the Asia Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (APCHRP) consolidated in one video and uploaded on YouTube. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/3hGnqyh_yr8.

Sr. Patricia Fox, spokesperson of the APCHRP and currently residing in Australia, in the video message she sent, shared: “We note the report of Michel Bachelet of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. In her report we are alarmed of the systemic, widespread and growing human rights violations in the Philippines. We are also alarmed of people and groups who have been red-tagged over a period of time. These all will become victims of this act. We also express our concern to overseas Filipinos who will also become victims if they criticize the Duterte regime. We take our courage from all sectors who refused to be cowed by such law, such conditions and continue to fight for justice, freedom and genuine democracy.”

Among those who shared their messages were: Michelle O’Neil, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Lennon Wong of the Serve the People Association in Taiwan, and Bruce Van Voorhis of the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines.

Many in their message raised concern on provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act that violate various international human rights conventions. The definition of terrorism, for example, is vague and open to interpretation on the part of the Philippine military and police, who are part of the task force that will enforce the said law.

Amidst the Filipino people’s clamor for mass testing and immediate economic relief, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte still pushed through with the implementation of Anti-Terrorism Act, which various groups including the APCHRP see as a direct assault on the human rights and democracy of the Filipino people. Various groups have already expressed intent to challenge the said draconian law.

Various friend organizations and individuals across Asia Pacific have expressed their commitment to support the ongoing campaign to junk Anti-Terrorism Act and will likewise share their respective video messages

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