April 30, 2021
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM Manila; 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Brussels/Berlin/Stockholm; 8:00 to 9:30 AM London
The promotion and protection of human rights, and an empowered citizenry through civil society and people’s organisations, are cornerstones of a democratic society and development. But the rights situation in the Philippines has been in a worsening crisis especially in the last five years, with a brutal war against the poor through a false war on drugs, and a counter-insurgency program targeting rights defenders and development workers. Amid an economic recession and militarised responses to the pandemic, the international community has seen mounting cases of rights violations in the Philippines. Independent investigations further complement evidence in official processes, such as the 2018 International People’s Tribunal in Brussels, and the ongoing Investigate PH initiative.
Today, grassroots organisations – especially workers, peasants, women, Indigenous Peoples – remain at the frontlines of defending rights towards a just and democratic society. An enabling environment, free from all forms of reprisals in pursuit of peoples’ advocacies, is crucial in building genuine democracies. The support of the international community is also invaluable in these times, towards further international responses to abate the attacks and seek justice for the victims. The Roundtable Discussion serves as a space for both the diplomatic and international civil society community to strengthen solidarity. It is organised by IBON International, a Southern INGO working on capacity development of CSOs especially in the global South. The discussion aims to provide a brief overview of current CSO efforts on shrinking civic and democratic spaces in the country; and to discuss general and specific measures and responses from the international community to further contribute in availing redress mechanisms and protection of those at risk.###