THE German government affirmed its commitment to work closely with the Philippines for protection of human rights.
In a dialogue at the House of Representatives, German Embassy’s Charge d’ Affaires Michael Hasper told lawmakers that foreign groups and other countries are willing to engage in the exchange of ideas through parliamentary networking with the Philippines.
The House Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, conducted the dialogue with other foreign members of parliaments to discuss the status of the pending bills on human rights.
The Philippines is currently in the center of discussion in the international community because of the alleged violation of human rights due to Duterte government’s war on drugs.
Hasper expressed confidence that the Philippines will continue to protect and preserve human rights.
“We are into promotion of human rights. We learned from the history that we need to protect human life, and rights of every human,” Hasper said.
“In Germany, we teach our kids good values,” he stressed.
Hasper was accompanied by Martin Patzelt, member of the German Parliament’s Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid and Dominik Hammann of the International Peace Observers Network (IPON).
“I’m particularly happy to be here, with the member of the German parliament, which shows our close ties,” Hasper said.
In an interview, Hammann said his group is “very concerned” about the “summary execution related to the war on drugs.”
Hammann added that several human rights organizations have also raised alarm over the rising number of people killed in the present administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign.
However, Hammann observed that in the last 10 years that IPON has been looking into the situation in the country, “it is especially marginalized groups, human rights defenders and indigenous peoples who are the ones at threat and being continually harassed no matter what government is in power.”
“We have been observing this under GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), under (Benigno Aquino), and it continues after 100 days under the Duterte administration, that these groups, these human rights defenders, they are specifically being targeted and being harassed until the extreme form of being killed for their peaceful advocacy and their peaceful engagement for the rights of the Filipino people,” Hammann told House reporters.
While the public focus has been trained on the killings related to the anti-illegal drug war, which now reached over 3,000 since Duterte assumed office, Hammann said the “systematic harassment against rights defenders” should not be glossed over.
“We have been observing an increase in the criminalization of human rights defenders in cases of arbitrary arrest, cases of prolonged trials and inefficient and very manipulative justice system,” he said.
“This is the thing that we want to raise awareness about and we want to call the attention of not only the Philippine government but the international community,” he added.