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IPMSDL Joins PH IP, Moro in filing petition against the Philippines'Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

Two days before the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IDWIP), International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) joins the filing of petition against the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

IPMSDL Global Coordinator Beverly Longid trooped the Philippine Supreme Court in Manila together with indigenous and Moro groups, lawyers, and civil society leaders to file a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition against the “terror law” or Republic Act (RA) 11479 this August 7.

“Cloaked in legalese, RA 11479 is none other than terrorism in disguise,” according to the petitioners. Dean Tony Lavinia, lawyer, professor and environmental and human rights advocate and the Legal Rights And Natural Resources Center Inc. (LNRC) acts as the legal counsel of Indigenous Peoples (IP) and Moro petitioners.

“Immediately, the court must declare the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 unconstitutional because it violates our fundamental freedoms and our right to self-determination,” Longid emphasized.

Even before President Rodrigo Duterte signed the “terror law” last July, IPMSDL already raised alarm how anti-terrorism laws work as tools in criminalizing dissent. Indigenous Mapuche leaders in Chile, Indigenous activists in Ecuador, West Papuans IP protesters and Ethiopian journalists were some of anti-terrorism law’s casualties.

In the Philippines, IP leaders and organizations defending their ancestral lands against plunderous corporate and government projects have been terrorist-tagged, and targeted as enemies of the State. Human rights violations and criminalization of dissent is at its worst in the Philippines, which ranked as the worst places in Asia for land and environment defenders, and second in the world.

“Aside from criminalization and trumped-up charges, many of our comrades have been extra-judicially killed and forcibly disappeared. Our cases you’ll hear today cannot overemphasize the terror law’s danger to our safety and security,” said Longid. Longid herself has been a target of several terrorist-tagging and smear campaigns by the State agents.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Procedures, around 45 lawmakers from the United States and more international groups already expressed strong fear and condemnation on the “terror law”, which the Philippine government continues to dismiss.

Today’s submission is the 26th petition against the Anti-Terrorism Act. Among the petitioners are Samira Gutoc, Chair, AkoBawit; Beverly Longid, Solidarity Officer, KATRIBU – National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines; Joanna Cariño, Co-Chair, SANDUGO – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination; Nora Sukal, B’laan indigenous leader; Amirah Lidasan, Moro-Christian Peoples Alliance; Teresa de la Cruz, Aeta indigenous leader; Kakay Tolentino, Coordinator, Bai Indigenous Women; Judy Pasimio, National Coordinator, Lilak; Rose Hayahay, Teacher with Save Our Schools Network; Chad Errol Booc, Volunteer Teacher with Lumad School ALCADEV.

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