Press release | Sept. 20, 2019

Global Witness statement on Kalikasan and Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines

Global Witness expresses its concern at information that land and environmental defenders from the organisations Kalikasan and Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines may be under surveillance and at risk of being raided by State forces. 

This fits a national and global trend of criminalisation of land rights and environmental activism not only in the Philippines but globally. 

Global Witness wishes to express its support for these organisations and calls upon the government to guarantee the security of their members and ensure that due process is followed in any and all judicial processes brought against rights activists in the country.

Enemies of the state? 

In our Annual Report on land and environmental defenders for 2018, we looked at how deadly violence is only the most visible of the myriad threats that defenders face.

Across continents, governments and companies are also using countries’ courts and legal systems as instruments of oppression against those who threaten their power and interests.  

That’s why this year, for the first time, we have documented the many ways that defenders are being criminalised, including: 

  • In some countries, the state is labelling defenders as terrorists or enemies of the state, as in the case of nine environmentalists who were jailed in Iran, accused of spying.
  • As we have seen with the crackdown on anti-fracking activism in the UK, governments and industry are also flexing national laws to outlaw protest.

Criminalising defenders in this way makes attacks on them seem legitimate, making them more likely. These trends continue across the globe, helped by populist politicians who are stripping away vital environmental protections when we need them most. 



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