This Human Rights Day, Australian unions mobilised in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth to demand an end to the attacks on trade unionists in the Philippines. The Philippine government, led by President Duterte, targets unionists, journalists, human rights activists and organisations critical of the regime in a process known as ‘red tagging’. These people and organisations are falsely labelled as terrorists and targeted with harassment, arrests, and violence. In the past three years more than 43 trade unionists have been murdered in the Philippines, and countless more have been threatened with violence and false criminal charges.
Australian unions also called out the Australian government’s enabling of human rights abuses through funding and support of the Philippines military. Despite the many reports of attacks by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against their own people, from 1 December Australia increased its support of Duterte’s military through the new ‘Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.’ ACTU President Michele O’Neil has written to Foreign Minister Marise Payne demanding that the Australian government withdraw its military support for a regime that violates human and trade union rights and use its leverage to end the Duterte government’s horrific acts of violence against people in the Philippines.
Australian unions will continue to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Philippines and call on the Duterte government to immediately stop the attacks and red tagging of trade unionists!