The World Council of Churches (WCC) joined the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and United Methodist Church in a joint statement prepared for the 44th session of the Human Rights Council.
The statement calls upon the Philippine government to end human rights violations. “We welcome the High Commissioner’s report on human rights in the Philippines,” reads the statement. “It accurately describes the harrowing violations committed by the government, which is continuing to aggravate the situation.”
The statement describes how journalist Frenchiemae Cumpio was arrested in February on fabricated firearms charges. Then, in May, the government shut down the largest TV network, ABS-CBN. In June, Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa was convicted of cyber libel.
“All are government critics,” reads the statement. “Through official Facebook accounts, military and police are claiming that the leaders of the long-established Indigenous Cordillera Peoples Alliance, the National Council of Churches and some of its member churches are terrorist recruiters or supporters.
“This is a death threat, and on May 28, Carlito Badion, secretary-general of the national urban poor association, Kadamay, was extrajudicially killed,” reads the statement. “The new Anti-Terrorism Bill allows the arrest of any government critic without a warrant, and their detention without charge for up to 24 days.”
The statement urges justice for victims, and proper investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrators. “The counter-insurgency program must stop,” the statement reads.