Stand with Filipino Environmental Defenders against the Terror Law!
The global environmental and climate justice movement stands together with Filipino environmental defenders and climate protectors in rejecting the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 recently signed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
The ‘Terror Law’ is a draconian measure that would worsen the already atrocious human rights situation in the Philippines, previously tagged as the world's deadliest country for land and environmental defenders in 2019.[i] With the wide latitude of discretion given to law enforcement agents and very limited accountability mechanisms for their abuses, the Antiterrorism law’s provisions allowing detention up to 24 days without charges, warrantless arrests, and the suppression of freedom of expression and right to privacy [ii] threatens the work of Filipino indigenous people, small farmers, artisanal fishers, forest workers, and environmental activists operating in one of the global frontlines of the ecological and climate crisis.
In the first three years of the Duterte Administration, environmental defenders and advocates have been attacked in all fronts as they protect at least 6.2 million hectares of watershed forests, agricultural lands, coasts, and seas.[iii] Their work play an important role in protecting these landscapes and seascapes situated in one of the 18 mega-biodiverse countries[iv] that is also the 5th most mineralized[v] and yet the 2nd most climate-vulnerable nation in the world.[vi]
Environmental defenders and advocates also stand up against transnational mining companies, big logging and agribusiness, and infrastructures that are considered by government as ‘vital installations’ and ‘critical investments. As such, at least 19,498 of the defenders have been erroneously terror-tagged and subjected to various other human rights abuses.[vii]
Despite the dangers they face everyday, environmental defenders are steadfastly the first and last line of defence for our planet. In this era of runaway climate crisis and pandemics emerging from nature under siege, we have to resist laws that undermine our ability to protect our rights to a balanced and healthful ecology, and most especially, the right to life of everyone.
We thus demand the Duterte administration, through the Philippine Congress, to repeal the Anti-Terrorism Law. ________________ [i] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/30/philippines-deadliest-country-defenders-environment-global-witness [ii] https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2020/6/6/anti-terrorism-bill-review.html [iii] https://app.box.com/s/ertqfy2miuhdatq07e5wqzvnhvz7zrtf [iv] https://www.cbd.int/countries/profile/?country=ph [v] https://www.rappler.com/business/special-report/whymining/whymining-latest-stories/11983-fast-facts-mining-philippines [vi] https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/06/19/ph-2nd-most-affected-by-disasters-extreme-weather-worldwide-climate-index [vii] https://www.rappler.com/nation/250880-crackdown-environmental-defenders-yearly-ecological-damage