New Zealand Rail Workers Back Campaign To Defend Human Rights In The Philippines
Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) will join a rally for human rights in the Philippines this Sunday 27 July in Auckland at the Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place (1.30pm).
The rally is organized by Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Migrante Aotearoa as part of a global protest that coincides with the State of the Nation Address of President Duerte.
RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson says unions are concerned at the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines since President Duterte came to power in 2016.
He says the Duterte Administration’s so-called “war on drugs” has been accompanied by extrajudicial killings by the police and military of trade unionists, environmentalists, lawyers, human rights advocates and journalists.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently noted the Duterte Administration increasingly views criticism and dissent as akin to terrorism.
The Filipino Government recently legislated a new Anti-Terrorism Law which allows authorities to arrest suspected “terrorists” without proper warrant and to detain them up to 24 days with no charges filed. The law can be used to crackdown on unions holding strike actions, political rivals and other dissenters.
The RMTU has a close relationship with Filipino rail union BKM PNR, says Mr Butson.
He says the RMTU will continue to support the right of workers to organize in the Philippines.