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Statement on Human Rights day

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Robert Reid | Chairperson FFPS

This international human rights day, Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle (FFPS) affirms and highlights the inviolable human rights of revolutionaries – no matter whether they be civilian, non-combatant or armed members of revolutionary organizations – and condemns the continued de-humanization, rabid “terrorist”-tagging, and various grave violations of people’s rights by the US-GRP administrations. We take pride in standing with the Philippine revolutionaries and honor their contributions as genuine defenders of peoples’ rights in the cause for liberation and we honor all martyrs who have given their life for the advancement of the people’s aspirations.

The right of all people, including revolutionaries, to basic human rights should be a given. However, the reactionary administrations of the Philippines under direction of the US and through their Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the National Police and other state forces have continuously, purposefully and systematically violated the basic rights of revolutionaries. 

Under the US-Duterte and US-Marcos administrations alone, there have been numerous grave human rights violations and outright war crimes. Non-combatants and unarmed members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and other revolutionary organizations have been abducted, tortured and extrajudicially killed such as the revolutionary leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon. The AFP and other state forces have failed to respect the rights of prisoners of war and persons rendered hors de combat, and have summarily executed wounded New People’s Army fighters who were in no state to continue battle, such as the case of Kerima Tariman.

The US-Marcos-Duterte alliances also have a history of abducting revolutionaries who were seeking medical treatment, and subsequently torturing and executing them, such as the case of Ka Oris. Additionally, there have been the many NDFP peace consultants who were supposedly protected under agreements previously signed by the GRP and the NDFP and by international law, but who were nevertheless imprisoned, tortured and extrajudicially killed, such as the consultants Randall Echanis and Randy Malayo.

To justify these violations, the US-GRP administrations have continuously tried to put up a vague and false framework of fighting against “terrorism”. This is reflective of a disturbing worldwide US-led trend to use “counter-terrorism” to forego protection of civilians and to not adhere to International Humanitarian Law. It has become a way for reactionary and oppressive states to try and de-legitimize national liberation movements and monopolize violence. In essence it aims to declare any form of resistance against their rule as “terrorism.”

The reactionary Philippine government and its armed forces tag revolutionaries as “terrorists,” in an effort to paint them as no longer humans, and thus strip them of all their rights, even their most basic human rights.

In reality it is the reactionary US-Duterte and US-Marcos governments and its fascist forces that in their “counter-insurgency” efforts have subjected the Filipino people to relentless killings, bombings and other forms of state terrorism. While it is the revolutionary forces who are one with the aspirations of the majority of the Filipino people. 

The revolutionaries are not “terrorists”, but are steadfast in advancing the people’s democratic rights. When they take up arms, they do so to defend the right of the toiling people to their land and of all Filipino people to be free of national and social oppression and exploitation. They are not “terrorists” because they fight for the people and the people’s rights for democracy, self-determination and genuine liberation. 

The revolutionaries who take up armed struggle to end oppression and exploitation are entitled to the recognition and protection of their human rights. As international community, we need to rally around the Philippine revolutionaries and as FFPS we vow to continue building a solidarity movement that is determined to defend the people’s democratic rights, including the right to take up arms and fight for liberation.