blacklisting of non-Filipino human rights defenders – Karapatan
August 31, 2018
QUEZON CITY –
“President Duterte is obviously easily ticked-off by non-Filipino
human rights defenders and activists expressing solidarity and grave
concern on the human rights situation in the Philippines. His
regime’s intolerance and harassment of these foreigners, while
working in concert with the US, China and other governments in the
plunder of the country’s resources and in pursuing anti-people
policies, betray the hollowness of his rhetoric on national
sovereignty and independent foreign policy,” said Cristina Palabay,
Karapatan Secretary General.
Last August 30, Australian
missionary Sr. Patricia Anne Fox was informed of the decision of the
Phil. Bureau of Immigration (BI) denying her appeal regarding her
deportation case. BI considered Sr. Fox as an “undesirable alien”
for allegedly participating in political activities in the
Philippines. Sr. Fox is set to file her appeal regarding the said
decision before the Department of Justice next week.
Prior to Sr. Fox, three
Methodist missionaries namely Tawanda Chandiwana of Zimbabwe, Adam
Thomas Shaw of USA and Miracle Osman of Malawi were ordered deported
by the BI for their participation in an international fact finding
mission in Mindanao.
Last August 7, lawyer and
human rights defender Prof. Gil Boehringer, who has dual citizenship
in the US and Australia, was barred from entering the country.
Boehringer was included in the blacklist order along with several
other foreign human rights defenders and activists for their alleged
participation in the November 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC). Boehringer denied his participation in the said rally.
The list, which was made
public by media, also included former US Member of House of
Representatives Cynthia McKinney, Palestinian freedom fighter Leila
Khaled, Australian human rights activist Peter Murphy who serves as
the Chairperson of the Global Council of the International Coalition
for Human Rights in the Philippines, Guatemalan rights activist
Samuel Villatoro, among many others.
“These unintelligent and
sloppy ‘intelligence reports’ by the Bureau of Immigration has
repeatedly been used to justify the exclusion of non-Filipinos from
the country because according to the bureau, they are “threats to
public safety and order.” These non-Filipino rights defenders have
been linked to so-called ‘communist-terrorist’ groups. These
accusations are unfounded, without any bases, malicious and
dangerous,” added Palabay.
The BI argued that these
foreigners were involved in political activities in violation of
immigration laws particularly the Immigration Operations Order
SBM-2015-025 prohibiting foreigners from participating in rallies in
“Sr. Fox’s deportation
case will set a dangerous precedent if we allow the Duterte
government to continue harassing foreigners doing missionary and
human rights work in the country by simply deporting and
blacklisting them. Contrary to the BI's claims, the biggest threat
to public order and safety in the country is, in fact, President
Duterte himself, along with his fascist minions. They are the
purveyors of State policies that result to unabated human rights
violations, including Duterte's counter-insurgency campaign, martial
law in Mindanao, and the war on drugs,” ended Palabay.