Cybercrime law another affront to human rights – group

HUMAN rights advocates today said that the government deserves all the criticisms and protests generated by the Cybercrime Prevention law that was passed on September 12, a few days before the commemoration of the 40th year of martial law imposition.

“Gauging from the reactions of the netizens, the government failed to achieve the chilling effect with the cybercrime law, that now paves the way for E-Martial Law. Still, citizens and human rights defenders, especially those with advocacies that utilize the internet as a platform, become increasingly vulnerable to harassment by the government; unless the law is junked,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

Karapatan echoed the position of the online users that the Cybercrime law violates the people’s Constitutional rights as the law infringes on the rights to free speech and privacy. “Many people have been killed, disappeared, arrested and tortured under the Noynoy Aquino government because they speak out the truth, they criticize government policies that are detrimental to the people. Now, the government has brought its battle against the people on the cyberspace.”

“It also worries us that a medium where we can express the human rights situation in the country would be subjected to these restrictions. Even without the cybercrime law, facts and news on extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances, bombings of communities that exist under the Aquino administration are most often marginalized. What, with the cybercrime law?” added Palabay.

Palabay also stressed that there are more important laws that the government should work on such as bills on the indemnification of the martial law victims, against enforced disappearances and the protection of human rights defenders. “Instead of coming out with laws to protect human rights and to end impunity, the Aquino government enacted a law that promotes and engenders rights violations, as it has no qualms in showing that it’s pro-human rights stance is farce.”

Karapatan will join the protest action set on October 2, at the Supreme Court. Together with several human rights and people’s organizations, Karapatan is also preparing to question the constitutionality of the recently passed measure at the High Court.


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