WHO WE ARE
The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines [formerly the International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines or ICCHRP] is a global network of organizations outside the Philippines, concerned about the human rights situation in the Philippines and committed to campaign for just and lasting peace in the country.
It aims to inform the international community about the grave human rights situation in the Philippines today.
Beyond information dissemination, it calls on freedom loving peoples, organizations, political parties and governments all over the world to express their concern about the still deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines and to help the tens of thousands of victims in their quest for justice.
In 2004, human rights advocates and defenders based in the Philippines formed the Task Force Against Political Repression, headed by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
The Task Force launched a nationwide campaign calling for a stop to the extrajudicial killings and for justice for the victims. The human rights group Karapatan, together with organizations of the victims, were the most consistently active in this campaign.
In April 2006, the campaign against extrajudicial killings (EJK) was officially extended to the global community through an international campaign — the International Solidarity to Stop the Killings in the Philippines, or Stop the Killings (STK) for short. The international campaign gathered immediate and wide support. It was expanded to include the demand to stop enforced disappearances and to surface the victims.
In September 2006, the families of victims of extrajudicial killings and other victims of the Gloria Arroyo government formed a coalition called Hustisya! (Victims of the Arroyo Regime United for Justice). The following year, Hustisya joined other organizations in filing charges before the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal against then Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, US president George W. Bush, and their respective governments.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal in its Second Session on the Philippines conducted in the Hague, the Netherlands, found Arroyo, Bush and their governments guilty of crimes against the Filipino people.
The international campaign continued to gain ground amidst the intensifying repression and continuing rights violations. Several international organizations including the World Council of Churches, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch joined the Filipino people in calling for an end to these atrocities.
The coordinated international campaign forced the Arroyo government to rein in her security forces. There was a decline in the number of rights victims in the latter half of 2007.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her state security forces will long be remembered for having created a generation of victims of human rights abuses and of having deprived people of their lives and security. During her nine-year term alone (January 21, 2001 to June 30, 2010), there were more than a thousand victims of EJKs, more than 200 victims of Enforced Disappearances and tens of thousands evacuees because of different forms of harassment to their communities.
In 2010, then newly elected President Benigno Simeon Aquino III lent a deaf ear to everyone’s clamor to bring justice to the victims of all these injustices, he callously extended Arroyo’s OBL until the end of 2010. By 2011, he replaced the notorious and straight-forward counter-insurgency plan with an equally vicious but well-written and sugar laced “peace and internal security plan”. This, he dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan.
At the midst of the impunity with which the current BS Aquino regime continuously commits such violations, Philippine human rights defenders called upon their foreign friends to come to the Philippines, bear witness to the even worsening situation of the Filipino people, and come together for the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines.
Guided by the theme: “Uphold People’s Rights! Work for Peace! Fight for Justice! Build Solidarity and Resistance with the People of the Philippines and the World!”, 168 delegates representing different people’s organizations and movements, the academe, faith-based institutions, peoples’ lawyers, solidarity organizations, as well as individual human rights advocates, defenders and peace promoters coming from 26 different countries abroad heeded this call. Together with more than a hundred local counterparts and human rights violation victims, the conference was successfully held in Quezon City, Philippines from 19 to 21 July 2013.
Almost a hundred foreign delegates also participated in a preceding International Solidarity Missions in seven different areas throughout the country.
This gathering provided a very good opportunity to formalize the ICCHRP network into a more tightly-knit organization: the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).
The first ICHRP General Assembly, attended by official representatives of 34 of its total 59 founding organizations, elected an 11-person Global Council and chose Canon Barry Naylor of the Anglican Church of the United Kingdom as Chairperson, Jackie Hung of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese as Vice Chairperson, Peter Murphy of the SEARCH Foundation (Australia) as General Secretary, Bern Jagunos of the Philippine Network for Justice and Peace – Canada as Deputy Secretary and the Old Catholic Church’s Archbishop Joris Vercammen as Treasurer. The Global Council also appointed Dr. Angie Gonzales to serve as coordinator of the coalition.
Its General Program of Action (GPOA) aptly describes the ICHRP’s commitment to the Filipino people:
“The ICHRP shall continue to call on all human rights defenders, peace activists, academicians, HR organizations and all freedom loving peoples to come together in solidarity with HRV victims and HR defenders from the Philippines
The U.S.-Aquino government should be constantly reminded of what the people have achieved in history –that against the plethora of violence, deception and empty words lay the unwavering strength of the people in defending and upholding human and people’s rights.
It is in the strength and perseverance of the people, through their organizations and militant actions, that we remain confident that united we will overcome the state terror, puppetry and anti-people character of any U.S.-backed regime including that of Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
As we pay tribute to the millions of martyrs and heroes of the Filipino people’s movement – from the heroic struggles against the country’s colonizers to the present neocolonial aggressors — we remain confident in the commitment of the people to genuine national freedom, democracy, just and lasting peace.”
STRATEGIES and ACTIVITIES
Rights Education and Information dissemination:
- Internal Orientations and Discussions
- Conduct seminars, film showings, conferences and similar fora
- Publication and Maintenance of a website
- Maintenance of Information List serves
- Exposure programs and International Solidarity Missions (ISM) to the Philippines
Lobby work and advocacy
- In the United Nations institutions and mechanisms
- Regional and country parliaments, relevant state institutions
- Other relevant state and international bodies
- Other relevant non-state HR bodies and other institutions
Conduct of coordinated campaigns and actions:
- Campaigns against violations of civil and political rights of the Filipino people (i.e. Stop the Killings Campaign, Stop Enforced Disappearances, Free All Political Prisoners, etc.)
- Campaigns in furtherance of the people’s economic, social and cultural rights (Land rights, Workers rights, Women’s rights, Children’s rights, Right to abode, Migrant and refugee rights, etc.)
- Campaigns resisting foreign intervention and militarism especially by the US in the Philippines.
- Campaigns supporting the peace negotiations in the Philippines.