IGNITE AWARDS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS SEASON ONE: HONORING HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S STATE OF THE WORLD’S HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT 2017/18 MORE GOOD NEWS ON JERRYME CORRE AND ROSELYN OSOK, TAKING ACTION ONLINE, PRIDE MONTH AND YOUTH POWER ACTION!
OFFICIAL NEWS MAGAZINE OF INTERNATIONAL PHILIPPINES
JANUARY - JUNE 2018
VOLUME 18 / ISSUE 1 ISSN#1908-9856 / 2018
“We live in very challenging circumstances for justice and human rights, with battles over natural resources, rising inequality, increasing movement of people within and across borders, ongoing crises and conflicts, and unlawful actions by states against its citizens. Despite these, people always come together in solidarity with the help of individuals and organizations who are in the forefront of our fight for our rights.”
Ritz Lee Santos, III chairperson, board of trustees
mnesty International Philippines on 28 May, on the occasion of its movement’s 57th anniversary, formally announced the recipients of its Ignite Awards for Human Rights – an award, first of its kind, given to Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to recognize the impact brought about by their work in changing peoples’ lives through policy advocacy, mobilization and activism. “We live in very challenging circumstances for justice and human rights, with battles over natural resources, rising inequality, increasing movement of people within and across borders, ongoing crises and conflicts, and unlawful actions by states against its citizens. Despite these, people always come together in solidarity with the help of individuals and organizations who are in the forefront of our fight for our rights,” said Ritz Lee Santos, Board Chairperson of Amnesty Philippines. Amnesty opened the nominations publicly shortly after it launched Ignite Awards in 2017, and took a year to process all the finalists. Ignite Awards for Human Rights has three categories – Most Outstanding Human Rights Defenders for Individuals and Organizations, Outstanding Young Human Rights Defender and Art that Matters.
“We are very lucky to have a prestigious set of Board of Judges for two rounds of awarding seasons. The Chairperson of the Board of Judges is human rights lawyer and advocate, Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno. For members, we have Aurora Corazon Parong, M.D., member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) and Amnesty Philippines’ former Director; Bayang Barrios, singer, artist and indigenous peoples and women’s rights advocate. Two non-Filipino members of the Board of Judges include Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi, a human rights advocate and Senior Lecturer at the University of Malaya and the fifth seat filled by a senior manager from Amnesty International’s South East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office. Their criteria for judging are impact for human rights work at 40%, coverage of human rights work at 40%, and credibility at 20%,” explained Santos. Amnesty International’s goal under its Global Brave Campaign, where Ignite Awards was based, is for HRDs to be empowered, safe and supported, alongside thousands who are inspired to act with them against injustice. Amnesty International is calling for a world where people can speak out for what’s right without being attacked, threatened or jailed. “Over the past few years we have seen HRDs around the world increasingly face harassment, intimidation, smear campaigns, ill-treatment and unlawful detention, some are even being killed. But they carry on. Amnesty would like to honor that unwavering commitment today.” The recipient for Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for Individual is Senator Leila De Lima; for Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for Organization, DAKILA – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism. Recipient for Outstanding Young Human Rights Defender is Floyd Scott Tiogangco and for Art that Matters for Film, Christia Angela Roque. The recipients were awarded on 2 June at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City. 2 campAIgn 2018
IGNITE AWARDS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 2018
Photo credit: Jes Aznar/Getty Images
“Across the world, HRDs are risking everything to speak out against injustice. They are student leaders, political opponents, teachers, lawyers, journalists, women’s rights & environmental defenders. They are persecuted, harassed, tortured, jailed and even killed – just for daring to stand up for what’s right. Amnesty International Philippines would like to change that. It is not a crime to be brave.”
3 campAIgn 2018
brave awards Motivation, Equitability and Reciprocity are the main principles applied in giving rewards and recognition. Amnesty International has been using this principle since it started giving away awards, e.g. Ambassador of Conscience Awards (2003 to present), Martin Ennals Awards (1994 to present) – where Amnesty is part of the selection committee, and various Media Awards given away by Amnesty Sections. However, there has never been an award given to its members publicly by Amnesty International. The idea sprung from the resolution forwarded by General Santos group during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 2016.
It is high time for Amnesty International Philippines to recognize its BRAVE members working towards achieving human rights impact throughout the years. While Ignite Awards for Human Rights seeks to honor individuals and organizations who take action on behalf of those whose rights are violated, Amnesty International Philippines has not forgotten its very own human rights defenders – the paying members who take action for its campaigns. The Brave Award, co-cycles with Ignite Awards’ and will be given to active Amnesty International Philippines members every three years.
Well with criticisms of giving ourselves our own awards, during the first season of Ignite Awards for Human Rights in 2018, we cited 112 active members as Brave Awardees under the following parameters: • Member in good standing, as defined in Amnesty International Philippines’ Constitution and By-Laws, amended in 2012. • A consistently paying member in the last 3 and 5 years respectively with a record of at least 2 actions within a period of three consecutive years. • Member who has not served or is not serving as a member of the Board of Trustee or as a Section Director. • No outstanding financial accountabilities as of awarding.
4 campAIgn 2018
The Brave Award citation is given to ordinary members with extraordinary hearts, who strive to take their commitment to human rights a notch higher by honoring their activism with full compliance to Amnesty International’s core standards as an organization. Congratulations to the following members for their consistency and for the quality of thei human rights activism. Thank you for your unwavering support to Amnesty International despite the changing times. We are proud to have members like you!
Abundio Lomonggo Albert Lacastesantos Alfie Agang Alie Sending Annabelle Domingo Arlene Valenzuela Arnold Tristan Buenaflor Bob Lourence Silagan Brylle Tambilawan Caridad Lee Daniel Duran Dennis Tan Dexter John Monje Edgar Brioso Ednalyn Grace Viste Ela Oblepias Elsa Torrefiel Erlinda Buscato Felix Oracion Florida Cabural Francisca Oclarit Gebrelle Castillo Gena Agbon Gilda Vertudez Hasma Bagundang Helemer Potestad Inocenta Angao Janelle Ensamtan Jocelyn Devillena Jodelyn Melegrito John Christian Lopez Juliana Acohon Kristoffer Avelino Lea Remocaldo Leonardo Curambao Lourdina Pacho Michaelangelo Medina
Almida Oracion Anecita Natinga Anita Gallur Anita Tumbao Carmencita Andoy Carmencita Mutas Cherry Ann Señoron Conchita Aba-a Cordel Andales Dax Fernan Salise Elisa Legason Emeterio Andoy Emily Fajardo Fe Senillo Gloria Cabisada Hirohito Cadion Inocencia Rodrigo Irene Mae Sinhayan Jacinta Quinimon Jay Bee Labeta Jeffrey Mendoza Jennifer Fuentes Jeson Bolatin John Michael Añes Jonalyn Marcojos Joseph Legason Jude Nelson Apolonio Judys Cogo Kit Kaimo Cadion Kyth Palma Lolita Albino Ma. Belinda Sator Mardelou Matildo-Donohoe Marjorie Paulin Marvin Ted Membreve Melody Salise Nenita Delfino
Nerie Dueñas Nilda Mangilay Manuel John Paul Gaspar Margie Amante Marisa Yanson Matea Barco Melanie Taruc Merceed Talo Mery Joy Oracion Minrada Torrefiel Nieva Galay Preachy Mae Esin Prenciss Grace Oracion Paulina Talo Perla Racoma Peter Junio, Sr. Philip Benjamin Micubo Raquel Gare Remedios Gacus Rian Karl Garrido Robert Quinimon Robertson Lorenzana Rodolfo Albino Ronald Emmanuel de Vera Rosalinda Alipos Roxette Gacus Rosita Saligumba Rostum Paolo Alanas Shirley Tagbo Sean Henry Louis Macaraeg Teresita Molo Timoteo Gallur Virgilia Bomediano Virginia Pestañas Vivian Ang Vhanessa Jewell Kho Vicente Andoy, Jr.
Keep the fire burning, together we are powerful. 5 campAIgn 2018
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2017/18 The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 shines a light on the state of the worldâ€™s human rights during 2017. It gives an overview of the five regions and 159 countries and territories, documenting the struggle of many people in claiming their rights, and the failures of governments to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. Yet there are also glimpses of hard-won progress, demonstrating that the defense of human rights does yield positive developments. This report pays tribute to the human rights defenders who continue to fight for change, sometimes risking their own lives in the process. In a year when austerity measures and natural disasters pushed many into deeper poverty and insecurity, this yearâ€™s report also shines a spotlight on economic, social and cultural rights.
6 campAIgn 2018
© NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images
© Amnesty International
state “As we enter the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take our human rights for granted.” Amnesty International has documented grave violations of human rights in 2017 in 159 countries, here are some major human rights events analyzed in 2017. Afghanistan
them for human rights violations.
The civilian population suffered widespread human rights abuses as a result of the continuing conflict, and the civilian death toll reached record highs. On 31 May, in one of the largest attacks in Kabul’s history, more than 150 people were killed in a bomb explosion. Despite the risks to civilians, the numbers of forcible returns of migrants and refugees from Europe to Afghanistan have soared.
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories June marked 50 years since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The Israeli authorities intensified its illegal expansion of settlements and related infrastructure across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and severely restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians. The authorities used a range of measures, both in Israel and the OPT, to target human rights defenders who criticized Israel’s continuing occupation.
Australia Australia maintained hardline policies by confining people seeking asylum in offshore processing centers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, where they are held in conditions that more closely resemble punishment instead of protection. The justice system continued to fail Indigenous people, particularly children, with high rates of incarceration, reports of abuse and deaths in custody. Parliament passed historic marriage equality legislation following a public vote.
Kenya Security forces and the government clamped down on dissent, especially around a fraught election in August. Top electoral commission official Chris Msando was tortured to death and police used force against pro-opposition protestors; 46 people were killed nationwide. The High Court blocked the government’s attempts to close the world’s largest refugee camp – Dadaab.
The government continued to enact new laws that presented serious threats to human rights under the guise of “national security”. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died in custody. Activists were detained and prosecuted on vague and overbroad charges such as “subverting state power”. Controls on the internet were strengthened, as were controls over virtually all forms of religious practice. Freedom of expression in Hong Kong came under attack as the government prosecuted prodemocracy activists.
Chaos reigns in Libya, with the United-Nations-backed interim Government of National Accord struggling to assert control. The governmental vacuum has had disastrous effects on the country’s population and on migrants attempting to cross into Europe, who have been subjected to extortion, trafficking, kidnapping and reports of enslavement.
Mexico Activists and journalists were threatened, attacked and killed – digital attacks were especially common. Mexico received a record number of asylum claims, mostly from nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela. New data showed that two thirds of women had experienced genderbased violence during their lives. Two major earthquakes revealed the dire situation of housing rights in the country.
Colombia A year on from the historic Peace Agreement between the authorities and tevolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), armed conflict was still a daily reality for thousands in the country. The civilian population, especially Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer communities, and other activists continued to be the main victims of this violence.
Myanmar ‘Never again’ came to mean shockingly little as the world watched on as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled crimes against humanity in Rakhine State. This crisis is the latest to afflict the Rohingya, who live under a system of apartheid, with restrictions on virtually every aspect of their lives. Elsewhere, fighting between the army and ethnic armed groups intensified in northern Myanmar, with more than half a million people in need of humanitarian aid. Freedom of expression remains beholden to severe restrictions, with human rights defenders subject to intimidation.
France The state of emergency was lifted and replaced with a new law increasing the government’s power to impose counterterrorism measures that severely restricted fundamental rights. Authorities treated migrants and refugees punitively, sending the vast majority arriving via Italy back and deporting hundreds back to Afghanistan. The French government continued to sell arms to countries likely to use 8
of the world’s human rightss Poland The Polish government extended its grip across the judiciary, NGOs and the media, protestors were put at risk, and women faced systemic barriers in accessing safe and legal abortion. But these threats were met with massive protest, with thousands taking to the streets to try and force the government to back down.
© Amnesty International
Putin’s clampdown on freedom of speech showed little sign of abating, with the government arresting hundreds of peaceful protesters at a time. Scores of activists faced arbitrary detention, beatings and intimidation. In Crimea, those speaking out against Russia’s illegal annexation are punished with exile or prison. Anti-protest laws remain chillingly harsh, and Russia continues to use its “gay propaganda law” to persecute LGBTi individuals.
Saudi Arabia Though high profile announcements over promised reforms won attention, authorities still severely restrict freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Women still face systematic discrimination in law and in practice. Human rights defenders have been detained and sentenced to prison terms after unfair trials. Shi’a activists have been executed, with torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remaining common.
Syria The catastrophic war that has caused turmoil globally continues to evolve, with Islamic State in retreat, and military success against them likely to be announced in 2018. Human rights violations continue, with Syrian government and US-led coalition force attacks leading to civilian casualties.
Turkey The ongoing state of emergency set a backdrop for violations of human rights. Dissent was ruthlessly suppressed, with journalists, political activists and human rights defenders – including Amnesty’s own staff - among those targeted. Turkey continued to host one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with more than 3 million registered Syrian refugees alone, but risks of forcible return persisted.
expression. Security forces used excessive force to disperse protests. There has been arbitrary detention of those speaking out against the government and reports of torture and sexual violence against demonstrators.
A major armed conflict continues in what was the poorest country in the Middle East even before war began in 2015 between Houthi rebels and government forces, with thousands of civilian casualties. Access to basic needs, including food, water and healthcare have been shattered by the war. In September 2017, the UN agreed to set up an independent investigation into all alleged abuses of human rights by all sides.
The shockwaves from Trump’s presidency were felt globally, including from the notorious Muslim-travel ban and other anti-immigration policies that threaten the safety of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The Trump administration has scored poorly on women’s rights, publicly supported torture, attempted to take healthcare coverage away from millions, undermined the media, equivocated on white supremacy, discriminated against transgender individuals, and is considering loosening restrictions on the export of small arms.
Zimbabwe The departure of Robert Mugabe – who was responsible for a litany of human rights abuses – was met with huge public support. But while activists continue to mobilize to hold the government to account through protests, the state sustained its crackdown on dissenting voices. As the economic situation worsens, the right to food, health and other economic and social rights are under grave threat.
Venezuela The country faced one of its worst human rights crises in recent history, with a politically chaotic situation and a worsening food and medical supply crisis that is driving thousands to protest. Media outlets face threat of closure, compromising freedom of 9
housands of unlawful killings by police and other armed individuals continued as part of the governmentâ€™s anti-drugs campaign. Human rights defenders critical of the campaign were singled out and targeted by the President and his allies. A state of martial law was declared and extended twice on the island of Mindanao, raising fears of further human rights abuses. Attempts to reintroduce the death penalty stalled at the Senate after a bill was passed by the House of Representatives.
EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS AND SUMMARY KILLINGS The deliberate, unlawful and widespread killings of thousands of alleged drug offenders appeared to be systematic, planned, organized and encouraged by the authorities, and may have constituted crimes against humanity. Most of those killed were from poor urban communities. Despite evidence that police and gunmen with links to the police killed or paid others to kill alleged drug offenders in a wave of extrajudicial executions, authorities continued to deny any unlawful deaths. In January, the President suspended the violent anti-drugs campaign for one month following the killing in police custody of a Republic of Korea national.
10 campAIgn 2018
In March, the unlawful killings of suspected drug offenders in police operations resumed, as did drug-related killings by other armed individuals. The number of killings on a single day in police anti-drug operations reached 32 in August. Police continued to rely on unverified lists of people allegedly using or selling drugs. In September, the killings of three teenagers within a few weeks sparked a national outcry. CCTV footage and witness statements contradicted police accounts of the killing of one of the three, 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, who according to forensic experts and witnesses appeared to have been extrajudicially executed.
March but stalled in the Senate after facing opposition.
INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT
President Duterte declared martial law in the island of Mindanao on 23 May. Fighting had erupted in the city of Marawi between government forces and an alliance of militants, including the Maute group, which pledged allegiance to the armed group Islamic State (IS). The conflict ended in October when the military killed several militant leaders.
In October, President Duterte announced that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would take over the anti-drugs campaign from the Philippine National Police. However, it was announced less than two months later that police might rejoin anti-drug operations, despite unresolved issues. Meaningful investigations into killings of alleged drugs offenders failed to take place; no police officers were known to have been held to account. Relatives of victims continued to be fearful of reprisals if they filed complaints against police.
Militants allied with IS targeted Christian civilians, committing at least 25 extrajudicial killings and carrying outmass hostage-taking and extensive looting of civilian property, which may have amounted to war crimes. Philippine armed forces detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, which highlighted the need for an investigation into their compliance with international humanitarian law. In response,the Philippine armed forces said they would probe allegations of war crimes. Martial law was extended for a second time in December, amid concerns that military rule could allow for further human rights abuses.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
A bill to establish a National Preventative Mechanism in accordance with the Philippines’ obligations under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture had not been adopted by the end of the year.
In April a secret detention cell was found in a police station in Manila. The Philippines Commission on Human Rights referred the discovery, along with allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, to the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation. Security forces were accused of torture and extrajudicial executions of those rounded up during five months of fighting between the Philippine armed forces and the Maute group in Marawi.
Human rights defenders, in particular those critical of the government, faced threats and intimidation. Journalists worked in dangerous and at times deadly environments. In August, radio broadcaster Rudy Alicaway and columnist Leodoro Diaz were shot dead in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Sultan Kudarat respectively. Radio broadcaster Christopher Iban Lozada was killed by unidentified gunmen in Surigao del Sur in October.
Attacks against human rights defenders increased, as the President encouraged police to “shoot” human rights defenderswho were “obstructing justice”. In February,Senator Leila de Lima, former justice secretary and former chair of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, was arrested on charges of drug trafficking. At the end of the year she remained in detention at the Philippine National Police headquarters in the capital, Manila, and faced between 12 years’ and life imprisonment if convicted. It was believed that the charges were politically motivated and that she had been deliberately targeted by the government since emerging as the most prominent critic of the “war on drugs”. Attacks against the Commis-
President Duterte pledged to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility, generating wide condemnation from children’s rights organizations and the UN. Abill to amend the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, which was adopted on 23 May by the
Sub-Committee on Correctional Reforms, retained the minimum age of criminal responsibility as 15, but introduced provisions that placed children as young as nine in crowded and often unsanitary short-term institutions for rehabilitation or as they awaited court disposition. An additional bill by a lawmaker was filed later in the year, seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12, but remained pending.
sion on Human Rights also intensified, as lawmakers accused it of “siding with suspected criminals” in the anti-drugs campaign and caused uproar by approving a budget of just USD20, before the decision was overturned in the Senate. Human rights groups expressed concern at reports of increased numbers of arbitrary arrests and detention, and extrajudicial executions of political activists and individuals aligned with the left, following a declaration of martial law in the island of Mindanao, and as peace talks between communist rebels, the New People’s Army and the government broke down.
RIGHT TO HEALTH
The nationwide anti-drugs campaign undermined people’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Many drug users were forced into compulsory and inadequate treatment and rehabilitation initiatives, which prevented them from accessing essential health services and harm reduction programmes.
SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
International groups called on the government to abandon its plan, proposed in 2016, to reintroduce the death penalty, citing the Philippines’ international obligations and in particular as a state party to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. A draft law to reintroduce the punishment was adopted by the House of Representatives in
In January, President Duterte signed an executive order to strengthen the implementation of the Reproductive Health Act of 2012 which promised to provide greater access to family planning and birth control services.
11 campAIgn 2018
Jerryme would like to send his utmost gratitude to Amnesty International for not giving up on him and continuing to campaign for human rights and others like him. to have been tortured and falsely accused in the country, he knows that there are many like him. He is one with Amnesty in strongly urging the Philippine government to end impunity, make accountability a priority, further strengthen the criminal justice system, uphold the rule of law and due process, and ultimately, the respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights for all.
Jerryme Corre was adopted by Amnesty International as one of the core cases of the Global Stop Torture Campaign and individual-at-risk for Write for Rights in 2014. Despite a ruling in 2016 that Jerryme had been tortured by police, the drug charges against him was not dropped, as having been tortured did not necessarily mean that he wasn’t in fact guilty of selling drugs. He therefore remained in detention. From January 2018, a set of hearings were held on Jerryme’s drug charges, and finally on March 2, a motion to dismiss his case was granted citing lack of evidence. He was was released on the very same day.
Police officer Jerick Dee Jimenez was sentenced, also in March to a maximum of two years and one month imprisonment by a court in Pampanga, for torturing Jerryme. For reasons we cannot determine and despite court orders, PO2 Jimenez remains at large and is still considered on active duty in the PNP allegedly ‘under probation’ due to the criminal and administrative cases filed against him.
Jerryme is back at home in Angeles City, Pampanga with his wife and children. He was able to visit his mother and his father’s graveyard right after his release, one thing that he was keen on doing as his father died while he was in prison.
In October 2017, co-accused police officer, Aries Amposta, was arrested on separate charges of robbery. He was subsequently arraigned on all charges filed against him including the torture. He pleaded guilty to having tortured Jerryme and was immediately ordered to serve up to two years and pay Jerryme PHP100,000 in moral damages.
On March 14, Jerryme visited the AI Philippines office to send his utmost gratitude to Amnesty International for not giving up on him and continuing to campaign for human rights and others like him. While he hopes that he is the last
12 campAIgn 2018
within her village, exactly where a plantation was operating, a Barangay official who was present was in awe, saying he never realized that a “simple resident” would know about human rights and have the skill to facilitate. This comment was etched in Roselyn’s memory. It served as a motivating factor for her to continue and pursue her role as a catalyst of change in her community.
oselyn Osok, an Indigenous woman, is a human rights defender and community organizer in Barangay Manat, Mindanao, where she lives. Her village is home to Indigenous Manobos as well as migrants who have learned to co-exist with each other. She describes her life as “simple yet purposeful.” Roselyn’s activism was not an overnight decision. Her journey to becoming a community organizer began when the growth of palm oil plantations in Barangay Manat has had negative environmental impact on her community and to the people living around it. The rise of palm oil plantation in Mindanao, has impacted the traditional land use and rights to ancestral domain of Indigenous Peoples living in the village. In her community alone, around 1,800 hectares of Indigenous staple crops where converted to palm oil production. In an adjacent municipality, the same industry has also undermined indigenous peoples’ access to food and right to ancestral domain. With the rise of palm oil plantations, livelihood was affected and food security was put at risk. Furthermore, the introduction of palm oil in 1997 exacerbated the situation, by polluting water sources, emitting black smoke and giving off a foul smell throughout the day. Roselyn and other women in the village knew the plantations were putting not only theirs but their children’s and other family members’ health and lives at stake because the air they breathe, the water they drink are contaminated. This situation could not be ignored any longer, so Roselyn started to be active in the Empowerment, Education, Justice (EEJ) project of Amnesty International-Philippines.
With the knowledge and her role in the community, there was a shift in Roselyn’s life. All the time juggling her family and domestic responsibilities and her job teaching sixty Monobos and migrant toddlers in a Child Care Center (which she has been doing for 19 years and earns a measly 3,000 pesos each month), she increased her advocacy work. Documenting human rights abuses became second nature to her. She speaks when she thinks her rights and those of the others are violated. She questions. She has facilitated community discussions regarding the pollution caused by the processing plant. She documented and initiated a petition letter addressed to the City Environment and Natural Resources office and signed by other members of her community. This raised the ire of Barangay officials, who questioned her and others, asking why they directed their complaint to the agency without going through their local leaders first. Some are saying that they must have been influenced by “radical groups”. This reaction has not intimidated Roselyn. According to her, “This work is not for my own personal gain but for the good of everyone. The company must look after their waste disposal; take care of natural resources and not only for their own profit.”
Roselyn is an Amnesty International Philippines (AIPH) member. She is also one of the local facilitators trained by the EEJ Project of AIPH. As a human rights defender and a community facilitator, she has initiated raising awareness of her neighbours, the parents, and other community members. With the trainings she has undertaken on Basic Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Gender and Women’s Rights, as well as other skills she has developed in Paralegal support and advocacy, her community started to be critical. With the confidence and the knowledge she has gained, she has transmitted the principle of equality, non-discrimination and justice to other Indigenous members in her community, who also voice the same indignant feelings as hers.
Roselyn added that she cannot blame others who felt scared and worried for their lives. But for her, she will find comfort in the fact that even if there are only five people who will stand up for their rights and principles, and are willing to continue claiming for their rights, she will not be disheartened.
In May, Roselyn’s tribe was granted their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) with a total area of 21, 555 hectares within the Municipality of Trento, Agusan del Sur, approved after the Third Deliberation of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) En Banc, received by tribal leaders from the 12 barangays of FETREMTCO. Securing CADTs for the Indigenous Peoples is an advocacy strongly campaigned for by the EEJ project.
Women and men started to claim their rights and to believe that they deserved a better community and a better life for their children. Roselyn has facilitated some human rights education activities. When she presented the topic on Business and Human Rights
a Manobo woman’s courage in claiming rights
13 campAIgn 2018
5.5 MILLION ACTIONS FOR WRITE FOR RIGHTS Amnesty supporters worldwide took Write for Rights to unprecedented heights in 2017. Together you wrote an incredible 5,500,650 letters, emails, tweets and much, much more. Your words brought hope to the many human rights defenders we featured. Among them was Mahadine, who was freed in April. He had been facing a life sentence in Chad for a Facebook post. “I want to express my gratitude to you all,” he said earlier in the year. “I appreciate you, I love you, I respect you. Humanity.”
Imagine being locked away, alone, not knowing if anyone cares where you are. Now imagine receiving a letter from someone you don’t know, telling you they believe in you and the peaceful cause you stand for. That’s what real letters can do: bring hope to people in the direst of situations. And when they arrive in huge numbers, they are also an unmistakable reminder to the prison authorities and others that the world is watching. Those letters not only bring great solace, but they can also help make people safer. Your actions could help bring torturers to justice. Change laws to stop violence against women. Or release people who have been jailed just for speaking out. So take action, lend your pen , and help protect people’s human rights across the world.
14 campAIgn 2018
TAKE N O I T C A Y! A D O T Bring the Myanmar military to justice We know exactly who the prime suspects are. Don’t let perpetrators get away with their crimes. Following attacks by an armed group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on security posts, the Myanmar security forces swept through hundreds of villages of ordinary Rohingya people. They killed women, men, and children; raped women and girls; hauled men and boys to detention sites and tortured them; and burned homes, shops, and mosques across several hundred villages. More than 700,000 people have been forced to flee across the border to Bangladesh. These are crimes against humanity. Time after time, in place after place, the Myanmar military gets away with its crimes. This needs to change. We have now identified 13 individuals suspected of playing a key role in these crimes, either as direct perpetrators or under command responsibility. Help us make sure those responsible are held accountable for the attacks on hundreds of thousands of men, women and children by the Myanmar military.
Show Taner Kılıç that he is not alone Our dear friend, human rights defender and Honorary Chair of Amnesty Turkey Taner Kılıç, has been in jail since June 2017. He is on trial on baseless charges when he hasn’t done anything wrong. Taner is one of the many human rights defenders in Turkey that the government is trying to silence. For an innocent person, being deprived of their freedom for a single day is too long, yet Taner has been locked up for over a year. Turkish authorities are keeping Taner unfairly away from his family, friends, colleagues and his work. He must get his freedom back. Now it’s time to show our solidarity with Taner, let him know that we continue to stand with him and will not rest until he is free.
Amnesty made it easier for you to take action! Just visit our website http://www.amnesty.org.ph/take-action/
Writing a message takes seconds. Please include your thoughts and feelings into your message, and let Taner know that he is not alone.
15 campAIgn 2018
16 campAIgn 2018
human rarei gmyhPride ts Around the world, people are under attack for who they love, how they dress, and ultimately for who they are.
Same-sex sexual activity is a crime in 72 countries, and can get you a death sentence in eight countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen. And even where these restrictive laws are not actually enforced, their very existence reinforces prejudice against LGBTI people, leaving them feeling like they have no protection against harassment, blackmail and violence. LGBTI advocates have overcome enormous challenges and risks to their own personal safety to call out abuses of the human rights of LGBTI people, and force changes to laws that discriminate against them. From the introduction of the concept of Pride and global recognition days like the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (also known as IDAHOTB), LGBTI people are forging alliances and promoting pride in who they are worldwide. The collective efforts of activist organisations around the world has paid real dividends. Today, at least 43 countries recognise homophobic crimes as a type of hate crime. And as of May 2018, 24 countries have made samesex marriage legal.
In too many countries, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) means living with daily discrimination. This discrimination could be based on your sexual orientation (who youâ€™re attracted to); gender identity (how you define yourself, irrespective of your biological sex), gender expression (how you express your gender through your clothing, hair or make-up), or sex characteristics (for example, your genitals, chromosomes, reproductive organs, or hormone levels.) From name-calling and bullying, to being denied a job or appropriate healthcare, the range of unequal treatment faced is extensive and damaging. It can also be life-threatening. In all too many cases, LGBTI people are harassed in the streets, beaten up and sometimes killed, simply because of who they are. A spate of violence against trans people has claimed the lives of at least 325 individuals between October 2016 and September 2017. Many intersex people around the world are forced to undergo dangerous, invasive and completely unnecessary surgeries that can cause life-long physical and psychological side effects.
Everyone should be able to feel proud of who they are and who they love. We all have the right to express ourselves freely. Bringing an end to homophobia and transphobia will save lives. By embracing LGBTI people and understanding their identities, we can learn how to remove many of the limitations imposed by gender stereotypes.
Sometimes, hostility directed at LGBTI people is stoked by the very governments that should be protecting them. A state-sponsored campaign in Chechnya led to the targeting of gay men, some of whom have been abducted, tortured and even killed. In Bangladesh, LGBTI activists have been hacked to death by machete-wielding armed groups, with the police and government taking little interest in delivering justice to the families of victims. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, LGBTI people continue to live in fear of being found out, and attacked or even murdered.
The criminalization of sexuality and reproduction around the world is a major barrier to human rights, and denies millions of us our human dignity. This is why Amnesty International has launched Body Politics: Criminalization of Sexuality and Reproduction, a new series of tools to empower activists worldwide to challenge criminalization and stand up for their rights. To know more about Body Politics, download the primer and toolkit here: www.amnesty.org.ph/spotlight/karapatana/
17 campAIgn 2018
young and fearless “When I speak out, I feel empowered” - Manu Gaspar, 23, Philippines Making my voice heard was something I struggled with growing up. I told my parents I was gay when I was 19. Compared to some of my friends who came out, I am lucky, as I am still able to live at home. It’s not always easy, though. My parents don’t approve of my sexuality and it’s hard to find common ground. Most of the time when I go home, I don’t talk to anyone. I’ve found hope through human rights activism. When I talk about issues I am passionate about, I feel appreciated, as though I am making a difference. Youth human rights activism plays a huge role in my life. Alongside my role at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), I am also part of Amnesty International’s Youth Collective. So many young people face similar struggles and it’s an opportunity to share my story with others and tell them it gets better – and once it does, it’s a responsibility to ensure other queer people everywhere enjoy their freedom as much as you do. It takes a long time to know yourself, but it helps when you find people who you want to talk to; they become your chosen family. When you find that group, you see things from a different perspective and feel much more appreciated. I am inspired by… the LGBTI community. Many people had it much harder, and I wouldn’t be able to be myself if it wasn’t for them.
Jaclyn Corin, 17, USA I never imagined it would happen to me. Parkland was labelled the safest community in Florida, but when tragedy hit and a mass shooting took place at school, I knew the only way to heal was to take action.
to us helped build our movement faster than we could have imagined. It is amazing to see the impact we’re having, but there’s also a sense of guilt, as this has arisen out of something so horrible.
When my friends and I came together, we didn’t have a plan. We literally started work on a living room floor. Being young worked in our favour. We weren’t adults trying to guess what worked for young people and we weren’t asking for permission. Other kids from across the nation saw what we were doing and felt they could do it too.
We created March For Our Lives because our friends who lost their lives would have wanted us to take action. We’re doing it for them.
Being survivors of a school shooting meant people listened to us. We were angry and loud. The reaction to what happened
I am inspired by… the kids who are doing something to make a difference – the girl who is running for school board, or the others running March For Our Lives. It’s the people and the present that inspires me.
18 campAIgn 2018
From gun violence and police brutality to sexual violence and harassment, young people - in all their diversity - around the world are living violent realities. Yet, in a new wave of human rights activism, these young trailblazers are rising up, taking action and calling for change, while juggling school, university and jobs.
Shafee Verachia, 26, South Africa
skills we’ve gained to educate people at home, about issues such as women’s rights.
Student fees are continually rising, and it is systematically excluding bright young minds. This is why, like thousands of other young South Africans, I was part of #FeesMustFall protests - the largest student-led movement in South Africa since the Soweto uprising of 1976, where black school kids stood up to protest against apartheid. In October 2015, we embarked on a systematic shut down of our university system.
I am always thinking about ways I can make a change and have an impact. For me, it’s a hobby. Even when my parents tell me to rest, I tell them that promoting the importance of human rights makes me feel good! I am inspired by… Nelson Mandela. He inspires us all. I also seek inspiration from people from my hometown. They motivate me to make a difference.
Over the course of two years (2015-2016), we experienced police brutality, victimisation and demonization. My friend, and successor as Student Representative Council President, Shaera Kalla, was shot in the back 13 times, at close range by policeman firing rubber bullets. She was unable to walk for almost six weeks. Another student, Kanya Cekeshe, was sentenced to eight years in jail. Hand-grenades were thrown at us and tear gas was fired. I still bear the psychological scars of what I experienced.
Mariana Rodrigues, 22, Portugal My dad is a bit of a revolutionary. He taught me to think outside the box, so when I see something I want to change, I do something about it. All my activism is based around this. When I went to university, I was approached by an Amnesty International fundraiser. The organisation’s work was so inspiring, I decided to become a face to face fundraiser after I graduated.
Even though our call was eventually met with a favourable response and tuition fees were not increased, it left me feeling agitated and angry. Change is not an event, it is a process and this process is not happening fast enough. Young people need to be at the forefront of shaping change. For too long youth issues have been on the periphery while leaders have been fixated with power and holding on to it. When the youth realize that we have the power and agency to shake the core of the system, we could be an unstoppable force for social justice I am inspired by… the youth activists who rebel against a system that ignores and excludes them. It’s these young people who give me hope and make it clear our struggle must continue. As long as there are young people who are going to sleep hungry, can’t afford to go to school or are unable to access their most basic rights, our work must continue.
Fundraising provides an opportunity to change the way people think and to educate people about what’s going on in the world. I talked to a lot of people who had different ideas about refugees. After we spoke, they realised the importance of welcoming people into Portugal. It proved that most of world’s problems stem from a lack information. It is possible to overcome hate It’s possible to change the way someone looks at the world and Amnesty, as well as my sustainable clothing project, provides a way of doing this. It’s incredible to be part of a youth network that provides an opportunity to meet activists from all over the world.
Amal Agourram, 21, Morocco
I am inspired by… people who continue to speak out in places where it’s hard to do so.
Women’s rights are violated every day in Morocco. I know people who have been harassed and assaulted, whose right to freedom of expression has been violated, and those who have faced unfair trials. That’s what makes me want to fight for human rights.
Amnesty International held its first-ever Youth Power Action Summit, earlier this year which saw more than 100 young people from around the world share stories, ideas and skills.
After I graduated, I started working with Amnesty International at a local level on its Brave and I Welcome campaigns. My aim is to create an environment where people are tolerant, open-minded and there’s an understanding of human rights. Through I Welcome, I encourage people to see beyond the refugee label and listen to the stories behind it.
KNOW MORE ABOUT fearless young leaders the world needs right now, LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE: FB.com/amnestyph.youth/
I mostly work with other young people on these campaigns. It’s an opportunity to meet people who have had similar experiences. By taking part, young people tell me they feel a lot less lonely and part of something important. Many of us have also used the
19 campAIgn 2018
PHILIPPINE SECTION Perseveranda Townhomes II 6C Maningning corner Maamo Sts., Sikatuna Village, 1101, Quezon City Telefax: +63 2 744 4108 E-mail: email@example.com We’re on the WEB too! http://www.amnesty.org.ph and you can find us on the following social networks: www.facebook.com/amnestyph www.twitter.com/amnestyph www.youtube.com/aiphilippines www.instagram.com/amnesty_ph www.amnestyph.tumblr.com
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS? Support Amnesty International Philippines. There are more ways than one. Write a letter
If you live in the Philippines, you can invest in the progress of human rights on an international scale by sharing your time, skills, commitment and money to Amnesty International.
Take part in AI’s Letter Writing Campaign Each edition of AI newsletters carries details of victims of human rights violations in need of help. Send letters or cards on behalf of these people to government authorities as proof of the mounting weight of public opinion. Join the Urgent Action Network Some prisoners need immediate aid perhaps because they might be tortured, executed or in need of medical attention. You can help them by sending letters or appeals via e-mail, fax or telegram.
BECOME A MEMBER Be an individual member Everyone’s help is needed for the movement to secure and safeguard human rights. Individual members receive regular membership mailing containing AI newsletters, appeal cases and campaigning materials. Join or form a group If you want to take a more active part in AI’s work, then join one of the Philippine section’s groups or you can form a group in your school, community or locality. The local groups are focal points of our membership activity, particularly for awareness raising, letter writing, campaigning and local fundraising. Be a volunteer Your spare time can be spent on helping AI campaign for human rights and its other operational work. To name a few, volunteers can help out in conducting workshops, organizing projects and events or monitoring news releases about human rights.
Take a direct action Take part in AI Philippines’ thematic campaigns such as Counter Terror with Justice or global campaigns such as Stop Violence Against Women and many more.
Send a donation Researching into identities and conditions of individual prisoners, sending observers to trials, preparing and publishing reports are all essential to AI’s work but expensive. For AI to survive and expand its work, your financial help is needed.
IN SHORT, MAKE A STAND AND TAKE ACTION 20
campAIgn is the official magazine of Amnesty International Philippines