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UN Rapid Response Team Should Investigate Attacks on Activists

(New York) – Philippine security force raids that killed nine activists on March 7, 2021, highlight the need for United Nations member countries to decisively address the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch said…
Protesters display slogans condemning the recent government attacks on activists during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace on March 8, 2021 in Manila, Philippines.
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Stunning Admission Highlights Need for UN Inquiry

(Geneva) – The Philippine Department of Justice admitted police culpability in thousands of “drug war” killings, Human Rights Watch said today. The surprising admission provides further reason for the United Nations Human Rights Council, meeting in…
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Senator Leila de Lima Faces Politically Motivated Charges

(Manila) – Philippine authorities should drop all charges and release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been in police detention since February 24, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. A Muntinlupa City court acquitted her of one of three charges against…
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Upsurge in Attacks on Activists, Community Leaders, Rights Defenders

(Manila, January 13, 2021) – The Philippine government’s “drug war” killings intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, as did unnecessary arrests during lockdowns, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Attacks by the police,…
Detainees sleep in an open basketball court inside the Quezon City Jail in Quezon City, Philippines on July 24, 2020. 
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Over 60 Groups Urge UN Body to Ensure Accountability

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should establish an independent international investigation on extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch said today, joining dozens of other human…
Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019.
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Manila Court Convicts Duterte Critic Maria Ressa for Libel

(Manila) – The conviction of a prominent journalist for criminal libel is a devastating blow to media freedom in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 15, 2020, a Manila court issued a guilty verdict for Maria Ressa, the founder and…
Maria Ressa arrives at court in Manila, June 15, 2020.
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Special Council Would Usurp Court Powers

(Manila) – The Philippines government is on the verge of enacting a counterterrorism law that will eliminate critical legal protections and permit government overreach against groups and individuals labeled terrorists, Human Rights Watch said today.…
A protester carries a sign at a rally against the draft Anti-Terrorism Act in Quezon City, Philippines, June 4, 2020.
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UN Human Rights Council Should Promote Justice for Killings

(Manila) – Thousands of children in the Philippines have suffered lasting physical, emotional, and economic harm from President Rodrigo Duterte’s abusive “war on drugs,” Human Rights Watch said in a report and accompanying video …
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Deals Would Reward Past Abuses, Lack of Accountability

(Washington, DC) – The US Congress should block or delay sales of almost $2 billion in attack helicopters and munitions to the Philippines until the government adopts major reforms to end military abuses and hold those responsible to account…
Image of a US Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopter.
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Duterte Should Rescind ABS-CBN Shutdown; Congress Should Renew License

(Manila) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should rescind an order to shut down ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcast television and radio network, Human Rights Watch said today. The House of Representatives, whose inaction on…
Employees light candles outside the headquarters of broadcast network ABS-CBN corp. on May 5, 2020, after the network was ordered to halt operations after its congressional franchise expired, in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines.
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Reduce Prisoner Populations to Address Severe Health Concerns

(Manila) – The Philippine government has not fully reported prison deaths, raising concerns that Covid-19 is spreading more quickly and widely in the country’s detention facilities, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should…
Inmates sitting in an overcrowded jail in Manila, Philippines, February 2019.
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Release Low-Level Offenders; Prioritize Older and Ill Prisoners

(Manila) – Philippine authorities, to stem the COVID-19 outbreak, should release from the country’s overcrowded jails and prisons inmates who have been detained or convicted for low-level and non-violent offenses, Human Rights Watch…
Inmates in the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan City, Philippines, January 2017.  (c) 2017 AP Photo
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Adopt Policy to Ensure Students Return, Receive Support

(Nairobi) – The Sierra Leone government’s decision to allow girls who are pregnant or have a child to attend school is an important step to improve education for girls in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 30, 2020,…
A group of students walk to school in Sierra Leone
News

COVID-19 Response Should Respect Detainee Rights

(Manila) – Philippine authorities should respect the basic rights of people detained for violating the government’s COVID-19 regulations, Human Rights Watch said today. Police and local officials have confined those arrested to dog cages and forced…
A screenshot of an officer with five youths locked inside a dog cage after breaking curfew in Laguna province, the Philippines on March 20, 2020. © 2020 Facebook
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Duterte Critic Leila de Lima Held 3 Years on Fabricated Charges

(Manila) – Philippine authorities should immediately release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for three years, and drop the politically motivated charges against her, Amnesty International, FORUM-ASIA, and Human Rights Watch…
Jailed Senator Leila de Lima votes during the midterm elections in Paranaque, Philippines, May 13, 2019.
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Case Against ABS-CBN Attacks Media Freedom

(Manila) – The Philippine Congress should reject President Rodrigo Duterte’s apparent misuse of regulatory powers against the country’s largest broadcast network, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 10, 2020, the Office of the Solicitor…
Journalists and supporters, wearing black, display their messages during a protest against the recent Securities and Exchange Commission's revocation of the registration of Rappler, an online news outfit, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, northeast of Manila, Philip
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Upsurge in Attacks on Activists, Environmentalists

(Manila) – The Philippine government’s murderous “war on drugs” remained the Philippines’ gravest human rights concern in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2020. Security forces were also implicated in often deadly…
Veiled protesters, mostly relatives of victims of alleged extra-judicial killings, display placards during a protest outside the Philippine military and police camps
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Manila Court to Issue Verdicts in 2009 Maguindanao Killings

(Manila) – The Philippine authorities’ failure to arrest 80 suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre case puts victims’ families at grave risk, Human Rights Watch said today. On December 19, 2019, a special court in Taguig City, Metro Manila, is…
People commemorate the 10th anniversary of the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre in Manila, Philippines on November 23, 2019.
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Proposed Law Would Excessively Restrict Online Freedom of Speech

(New York) The Philippines proposed law on “false content” is sweepingly broad and threatens to stifle discussion on websites worldwide, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should withdraw the Anti-False Content bill, popularly described…
Senate president Vicente Sotto III talks to the media in this May 2018 photo. Sotto, a staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, filed the bill against "false news" on July 1, 2019.
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Complaint Filed Against Vice President, 35 Others, Intended to Harass, Intimidate

(New York) – Philippine authorities should drop cases for inciting sedition and other offenses against opposition politicians, religious leaders, and human rights advocates, Human Rights Watch said today. On July 18…
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, second left, escorts Vice President Leni Robredo, right, who visited him at the Philippine Senate Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines.