AI says crimes vs humanity may have been committed in PH

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The Philippines again figured in the annual report of Amnesty International (AI) for being one of the countries where crimes against humanity may have been committed.

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Wilnor Papa, AI Campaign Coordinator in the Philippines, said although this was not the first time that the country was included in the list of nations that violated human rights, the Philippines was “specially mentioned” this year because of the “rhetoric” and “toxic agenda” of the Duterte administration.

Papa said The State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2016-2017 contains the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights around the world, covering 159 countries. In Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the report highlights how civic space has been shrinking as the authorities invoke a slew of repressive laws to criminalize peaceful expression.

AI claimed that divisive politicians who promote a toxic and dehumanizing “us vs them” narrative are creating a more dangerous world.

“2016 was the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame, hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s,” Salil Shetty, AI’s Secretary-General said in the report.

“In Southeast Asia and the Pacific, we have seen governments target human rights activists and civil society, choking dissent,” Champa Patel, AI’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said.

“And in the Philippines, human rights activists were threatened with death by the President himself,” Patel said.

“The international community has already responded with deafening silence after countless atrocities in 2016: a live stream of horror from Aleppo, possible crimes against humanity in Myanmar and the Philippines, use of chemical weapons and hundreds of villages burned in Darfur. The big question in 2017 will be how far the world lets atrocities go before doing something about them,” Shetty said.

The group warned that 2017 will see ongoing crises exacerbated by a debilitating absence of human rights leadership on a chaotic world stage.

It said the world faces a long list of crises with little political will to address them, including in Myanmar, Philippines, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Central America, Central African Republic, Burundi, Iraq, South Sudan and Sudan. Jing Villamente

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