Passage of Philippine Law to Protect Human Rights Defenders Urged by UN Official

Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, has called for the Philippines to enact a bill that would protect human rights defenders. She highlighted that such defenders are being attacked, killed, and harassed in the country, and noted that their killings are rarely investigated. Lawlor urged the Philippine government to comply with international human rights treaties and standards, and to investigate the disappearance of community organizer Steve Abua, who was last seen in November 2021. The bill that proposes protective measures for human rights defenders was approved by the House Committee on Human Rights in February, and similar bills were filed during the 17th and 18th Congress. Lawlor said adopting and implementing the act would demonstrate the Philippine government’s commitment to the work of human rights defenders.

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