EU Parliament denounces deterioration of human rights, press freedom in PH

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) - The European Union Parliament denounced the deteriorating state of human rights and press freedom in the Philippines under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The EU Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday condemning the situation in the country with 626 votes in favor, seven against, and 52 abstentions.

The EU lawmakers criticized the alarming extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations committed in the Duterte government's war on drugs.

In relation, the EU Parliament acknowledged the June 2020 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights which flagged the anti-drug war in the country due to its "widespread and systematic killings."

READ: UN rights chief says Duterte drug war without regard for due process, human rights

It urged EU member states to support a resolution at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council 45th session, which seeks to launch an independent international investigation into human rights violations committed in the Philippines since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016.

The EU resolution also decried the "threats, harassments, intimidation, unfair prosecutions, and violence" against journalists in the country.

In particular, the European lawmakers appealed to drop the case against Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. The two journalists of the online news organization were convicted of cyber libel last June 15 in a case filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng.

The EU Parliament also urged the Duterte administration to renew the broadcast license of media giant ABS-CBN. The Philippine House of Representatives denied ABS-CBN's bid for a fresh franchise last July 5 citing allegations of dual citizenship of its chairman emeritus Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III, tax-avoidance schemes, failure to regularize its employees, and biased reporting.

The group also says that the Philippine government should drop all politically motivated charges against detained Sen. Leila de Lima. They also called for her release to "freely exercise her rights and duties as an elected representative."

The EU lawmakers also expressed serious concerns on the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act, emphasizing that "in no circumstance can advocacy, protest, dissent, strikes and other similar exercises of civil and political rights be considered terrorist acts."

The EU Parliament also condemned all forms of violence against women, children, and LGBTQI people, increasing levels of corruption in the Philippine government, and the ongoing procedures to reinstate death penalty.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday the Philippine government has never neglected its responsibility to take care of victims of human rights violations.

Roque made the remark in response to the speech of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet during the opening of the UN Human Rights Council's 45th session in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday. She called for an end to the government's policies that have led to killings and human rights violations in the war on drugs.

READ: 62 groups ask UN for independent probe on PH killings, human rights abuses