by Roy Mabasa
The United States House of Representatives’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is set to conduct a hearing on various human rights violations in various contexts all around the world including those committed in the Philippines on Thursday (Washington DC time).
According to the US Filipinos for Good Governance, a Virginia-based advocacy group, the Commission has requested In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement of the Philippines (I-Defend) spokesperson Ellecer Carlos to testify and help provide a clearer picture and evidence on what is happening in the Philippines.
Also invited to testify before members of the US Congress during the hearing are representatives of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Carlos and fellow advocates are expected to present documentation of extrajudicial killings and testimonies of family members of the victims and make recommendations to the Commission.
The I-Defend spokesperson recently completed a speaking tour in various US cities organized by the Philippine American Human Rights Alliance.
Prior to his US speaking tour, Carlos traveled to Europe also for various speaking engagements.
iDefend is the largest human rights coalition in the Philippines made up of over 70 organizations.
Carlos and his coalition are campaigning to pass the bipartisan Philippines’ Human Rights Accountability and Counter-narcotics Act, S. 1055 that seeks to restrict the exportation of certain defense articles by the US to the Philippine National Police.
The bill, introduced by Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), authorizes $50 million to the Department of State and USAID to promote a public health approach to substance abuse and to support Filipino defenders of human rights, assist victims of human rights violations, respond to human rights emergencies, and promote and encourage the rule of law, including the support for nongovernmental organizations in the Philippines.
The bill also includes instructions for reports on foreign assistance to the PNP; sources of narcotics and precursor chemicals to produce narcotics; US military assistance, cooperation, and security assistance and arms transfers used by the PNP and its associated entities to commit gross violations of human rights or violate laws applicable to military or security assistance related to human rights; and partner capacity building assistance to the Philippines to enhance maritime capabilities, respond to emerging threats, and maintain freedom of operations in international waters and airspace in the Asia-Pacific maritime domains, and to make recommendations for additional foreign military sales, foreign military financing, and international military education and training to be made available to the Philippines.
The Commission, named in honor of the life and legacy of the late California Rep. Thomas Peter Lantos, aims to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other relevant human rights instruments, in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress.
Tags: accountability, Amnesty International, Hearing on worldwide human rights violations to be conducted in US, House of Representative, human rights violations, Human Rights Watch, Manila Bulletin, US Congress
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