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Why Canada must stop funding the Philippine counter-terrorism campaign

(Photo credit: Rappler)

To view this Press Release in French, please visit this page.

Press Release
May 18, 2022
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – Canada (ICHRP-Canada) and 20 organizations, including Canadian churches, unions, non-governmental and solidarity organizations are calling on the Canadian Government “to stop funding so called counter-terrorism measures of the Philippine Government. In a brief, “Human Rights and Canada’s support for the counter-terrorism campaign of the Philippine Government,” submitted to the Canadian Government, ICHRP and the signing organizations recommend that the Philippines be excluded from Canada’s funding to counter-terrorism programs of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) provided through the Counter-terrorism Capacity Building (CTCBP) and other programs of Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and other departments.”

The call arises from concerns that the counter- terrorism activities are not conducted within international norms, standards, and obligations. The Philippine Government is using the counter-terrorism campaign to criminalize dissent, attack critics of the Government as enemies of the State and make them targets of its dubious counter-terrorism campaign. The counter-terrorism policies and measures amount to a declaration of war against human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, political opposition, labour, peasant, environmental and Indigenous rights defenders, and other citizens who exercise their civil and democratic rights.

ICHRP and the signatories of the brief warns the Canadian Government that it is inadvertently enabling the Government of the Philippines to use the counter-terrorism campaign as a tool of repression by providing financial, programmatic, and technical support. Canada risks being complicit in the thousands of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and irregular searches, arrests and detention, vilification and harassment campaigns and other severe human rights violations associated with the counter-insurgency campaign.

For more information about the Brief, the human rights consequences of the Philippine Government’s counter-terrorism campaign and Canada’s support for it, please contact:

Patricia Lisson
Chairperson of ICHRP Canada

The Brief is attached in full below: