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    Support the workers’ struggle for basic rights in the Philippines!

    On this 1st of May 2014, the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) denounces the B S Aquino III Presidency for its abuse of the basic rights of the workers to assemble, to organise, to speak out and to collectively bargain; as we salute the resolute efforts of genuine unions in the Philippines to continue to organise, expand and struggle in the face of sustained repression.

    During the term of President B S Aquino III, trade union leaders continue to be killed because of their selfless activity for the people, wrongly arrested and detained on ludicrous charges, and many more harassed by trumped up charges. As well the workers’ basic rights are abused in cases of violent police attacks on picket lines, the refusal by employers to recognise unions and to bargain, illegal dismissal of union members, and Assumption of Jurisdiction by the Department of Labor and Employment to stop legitimate strikes.

    In addition, each day over 4,900 Filipinos are forced to go out of the country to seek work on two and three year contracts in almost every country in the world. They work away from their families and in hostile legal situations where there is often no real labor law, as in the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Overseas contract workers face abusive employers, jail and execution, and deportation, as well as high risk in war zones in Syria and Lebanon, and Bahrain. While the B S Aquino III Presidency continued to ignore their plight while shamelessly taking taxes and fees, Migrante International continue to educate and organise, expand, protest, campaign and provide support to Overseas Contract Workers in need.

    Workers also faced deadly violence in massive demolitions of their homes in San Roque, Quezon City, in 2013, to make way for speculative land developers associated with the super-wealthy elite. And in the Visayas they shared the horrific death toll and devastation from Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda, where once again the organised workers delivered much needed relief while the B S Aquino III Presidency shunned the great need of the people in order to pursue its brutal counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Bayanihan II, across the devastated region.

    This terrible record is part of the longstanding policy of suppressing the workers’ and people’s demands for dignity and human rights in order to maintain the grinding poverty which allows the government to promote the Philippines as a low-wage location for foreign investment, and to continue to expand the labor export program. This grinding poverty is itself a massive breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as of the Philippines Constitution.

    Therefore the ICHRP calls on the International Labor Organisation, and the community of nations to treat the Philippines government as a rogue or pariah regime. Philippines labor law and policies are an affront to the core ILO Conventions on the right to organise, child labor, forced labor and discrimination. The Philippines government is acting in defiance of international law and standards, and thus the international community needs to end its impunity which degrades all nations.

    To achieve this change in global attitudes towards the Philippines government, ICHRP calls on all trade unions and all organizations upholding human rights to join local Chapters of ICHRP and to highlight in their countries the grave abuses of workers’ rights and human rights that are so rampant in the Philippines.

    ICHRP urges all trade union organizations to increase their solidarity with the KMU Labor Centre, and the public sector unions COURAGE, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Alliance of Health Workers, and with the Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights, and KARAPATAN, the national human rights alliance.

    References:

    Canon Barry Naylor
    Chairperson, Global Council
    International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP)
    Office: +44 (0) 116 261 5371
    Mobile: +44 (0) 775 785 3621

    Peter Murphy
    General Secretary, Global Council
    International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP)
    Mobile: +61 418312301

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