Ida Wahlstrom at OneWorld:
In the years following the ratification of the extremely controversial USA PATRIOT Act, other countries across the world have introduced equally contentious counter-terrorism statutes that have had serious implications on civil rights, say advocates.
Violent religious extremist groups have killed or injured over 1,700 people since 2000 in the Philippines alone, and the government of this island nation has failed to respond appropriately, a global human rights watchdog said this week.
The state has not taken adequate legal or punitive measures against those responsible, said Human Rights Watch, adding that a new anti-terror law “contains dangerous overbroad provisions that violate human rights standards and broaden the scope of government power to hold terrorism suspects indefinitely.” Before the passage of the Human Security Act, which went into effect just over a week ago, the Philippines was the only country in the region that did not have any counter-terrorism legislation. An opposition political party — and some Filipino bloggers — have expressed concerns that the new law may be used to silence valid voices of dissent as the current government, in addition to the police and military, have poor human rights records.
Recent developments in El Salvador, where the Special Law Against Acts of Terrorism was instituted in November 2006, hint at what may lay in store for Filipino citizens.