House debates

Monday, 15 June 2020

Statements by Members

Philippines: Human Rights

4:37 pm

Photo of Julian HillJulian Hill (Bruce, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

A fortnight ago, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued an alarming report regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines, stating that it was 'marked by an overarching focus on public order and national security' which has led to serious human rights violations. President Duterte has been taking advantage of COVID-19, ordering the police and military to shoot protesters. In his campaign against illegal drugs, conservatively over 8,600 people have been illegally killed, and it may well be triple that. People not convicted of a crime are shot dead by authorities with impunity. The national security laws now give 'wide discretion to charge individuals on the grounds of national security without human rights safeguards'. There are proposals now to install the death penalty and there are continued reports of vilification, threats, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances, and verified killings of over 208 human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists over four years. One of the lucky ones is the Dandenong Uniting Church Reverend Berlin Guerrero in my electorate, a social activist who was granted political asylum in Australia. In light of this serious deterioration, many in the Australian Filipino community are concerned about Australia's aid to and work with the Philippines' military, so I call on the government to review Australia's military support to the Philippines to ensure that we are not complicit in any of these shocking human rights violations.