World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed alarm and grave concern over the listing of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, along with 17 other civil society organisations, as being fronts for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
“In the context of current Philippine politics, such ‘red-tagging’ in effect gives a green light to harassment and deadly attacks by security forces and militias against those listed,” said Tveit. “The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has consistently spoken out against Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs,’ which has been marked by extra-judicial killings of suspected drug traffickers and users by security forces, with perpetrators of such killings enjoying almost complete impunity.”
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines has also consistently advocated for the rights of the poor, indigenous peoples, and many other marginalized and vulnerable groups. “Bishops, other clergy and congregation members, along with many other human rights defenders in the Philippines, have already been targeted, arrested and threatened with reprisals,” said Tveit. “In July 2019, the UN Human Rights Council called for a report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, against the background of the ‘war on drugs’, and will examine progress in June 2020.”
Tveit said: “The WCC strongly rejects the accusations made against the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and we stand in solidarity with the people of the Philippines who are mourning loved ones and living in fear of becoming the next victim. We call upon the government of the Philippines to end the war on drugs, to take measures to hold accountable those who have carried out extra-judicial killings, and to respect and protect the human rights and equal God-given dignity of all people in the Philippines.