GPUS YES Endorses the Philippines Human Rights Act

On March 16, 2021, YES endorsed the Human Rights Act of the Phillipines via
Special Thanks to Matthew Skolar for bringing this to YES.
"Since 2016, the United States has sent 550 million dollars of aid to the Philippine military and police, not including arms sales. Despite well publicized documentation of state sanctioned and politically motivated killings (including that of 9 indigenous, labor, and environmental leaders last weekend), mass deplacement of indigenous people due to aerial bombings and repression of press freedom and the harassment of human rights defenders, the United States continues to provide aid to Duterte’s regime. 

Since his election, President Duterte has garnered international attention from grassroots organizations, civil society organizations, and governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The human rights violations of the right wing and oppressive Duterte regime have not failed to gather the attention of people in the United States, especially among the country’s 4 million Filipinos. 

In the Spring of 2019, members of Kabataan Alliance, the Malaya Movement and the U.S. Network of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, came together to lobby the United States Congress for a hearing featuring the human rights situation in the Philippines alongside a resolution condemning Duterte’s attack on human rights defenders. 

Through these lobbying efforts, we have seen many successes. In 2019, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Southeast Asia where attendees questioned the role U.S. taxpayer money played in human rights abuses. In March, 2019, Congress introduced a bi-partisan bill condemning the Duterte administration’s targeting of political opponents.  In September 2019, the San Francisco city council passed a resolution condemning the attempted assassination on environmental activist Brandon Lee and calling for the suspension of military aid to the Philippines. 

Despite these victories, and the common knowledge that the Duterte administration engages in flagrant and systemic human rights abuses, the United States has recently announced that it intends to pursue a $2 billion arms deal with the Philippines. In an effort to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines and hold the Duterte administration accountable, ICHRP-US, Malaya Movement, and Kabataan Alliance, along with partner organizations have decided to put forward the Philippines Human Rights Act. "


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