December 10, 2014
Human rights groups urge the government to lead the way in the protection of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region
The Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) urge the government to lead the way in the protection and defense of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region through enactment of a law on the protection of human rights defenders and conduct a comprehensive legislative audit in order to review and repeal laws which criminalize their work.
In a statement, “the Philippines should ensure that the leadership it shows in terms of promotion of human rights in the ASEAN is reflected in our national laws,” MAG and TFDP said.
Based on documentation of the MAG and TFDP, it is increasingly well documented that the use of laws to impede the activities of human rights defenders and to criminalize them is alarming.
“We have faced significant challenges on the field that in many cases, complaints by human rights defenders about alleged violations of their rights are not investigated or are dismissed without justification. For instance, the case of Antonio L. Tolentino, human rights defender and barangay chairperson of Barangay Hacienda Dolores in Porac, Pampanga, he is in detention since April this year due to lack of competent investigation into the charges filed by the private security agency employed by ,” Edeliza P. Hernandez, MAG Executive Director said.