Human Rights in the Philippines

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Human rights in the Philippines

Human rights in the Philippines has been a subject of concern and controversy. According to U.S. Country Profile on the Philippines dated March 2006, the U.S. State Department reported in 2006 that Philippine security forces have been responsible for serious human rights abuses despite the efforts of civilian authorities to control them. The report found that although the government generally respected human rights, some security forces elements—particularly the Philippine National Police—practiced extrajudicial killings, vigilantism, disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrest and detention in their battle against criminals and terrorists. Prison conditions were harsh, and the slow judicial process as well as corrupt police, judges, and prosecutors impaired due process and the rule of law. Besides criminals and terrorists, human rights activists, atheists and agnostics, left-wing political activists, and Muslims were sometimes the victims of improper police conduct. Violence against women and abuse of children remained serious problems, and some children were pressed into slave labor and prostitution. On Wednesday December 7, 2006 International Labor Rights Fund's Brian Campbell tried to enter the Philippines to continue investigations of recent human rights violations and murders in the Philippines. Mr. Campbell had previously visited the Philippines in early 2006 to investigate various deaths of trade unionists including Diosdado Fortuna.[2] On Dec 7, Mr. Campbell was informed he was on a blacklist by the Filipino immigration authorities and was barred from entering the country. Mr. Campbell then was immediately forced to leave the country. | |

United Nations investigation
Since 2001 when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo began her term in office over 800 people have been victims of extra - judicial killings. In 2007 Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions, spent 10 days in the Philippines investigating these killings. He spoke to witnesses and victims, as well as senior members of the military and the government, finding that witnesses have been systematically intimidated and harassed. He says the military is implicated directly or indirectly in a significant number of deaths. Victims over the past six years have included trade unionists, farmers' rights activists, people from indigenous communities, lawyers, journalists, human rights campaigners and people of religion. The European Commission (EC) sent a six-man team of experts from the European Union (EU) to the Philippines on a 10-day mission to evaluate needs and identify technical assistance that the EU might provide to help its government prosecute those behind the killings. Press freedom

The fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index released by the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has ranked the Philippines among the worst-ranked countries for 2006 at 142nd place. It indicates the continuing murders of journalists and increased legal harassment in the form of libel suits as part of the problem in the Philippines. Between 1986 to 2005, 52 journalists have been murdered. Other allegations

The Philippine government, currently headed by the elected President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is fighting insurgents such as Islamic groups and the Communist New People's Army. A spate of extrajudicial killings, estimated by human rights groups at over 800 in the past five years, has put the Philippines on the human rights watch list of the United Nations and the US Congress. A UN special rapporteur criticized the Arroyo administration for not doing enough to stop the killings, many of which had been linked to government anti-insurgency operations. Interior Assistant Secretary Danilo Valero said the sharp decline, 83%, in the number of political killings last year, as well as the filing of cases against the suspects, “underline the Arroyo...
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