Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Chris Coons (D-DE) applauded passage of their bipartisan resolution condemning the ongoing human rights abuses in the Philippines. Introduced in April 2019, the resolution raises the cases of the Philippine legislator, Leila De Lima and journalist Maria Ressa. Senator de Lima, a critic of President Duterte’s policies, has been detained for more than 1,000 days on false allegations of drug trafficking. Ressa is a renowned investigative journalist and founder of online news platform Rappler and has been arrested multiple times on bogus charges for reporting the government’s role in extrajudicial killings during anti-narcotics operations.
The U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Human Rights Report notes numerous human rights concerns, including the persecution of human rights defenders and the detention of political prisoners in the Philippines. The report notes, “[t]he most significant human rights issues included: killings by security forces, vigilantes and others allegedly connected to the government, and by insurgents; torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees by security forces; often harsh and life threatening prison conditions; warrantless arrests by security forces and cases of apparent government disregard for legal rights and due process; political prisoners; killings of and threats against journalists; official corruption and abuse of power; threats of violence against human rights activists; violence against women; and forced labor.”
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