Jersey City council votes to protect Filipino HR defenders, backs bill to suspend military aid to PH
JERSEY CIY, New Jersey – The Municipal Council on Dec. 15 unanimously voted to extend protection to Filipino human rights defenders threatened by a Philippine anti-terrorism law and to endorse a bill in the U.S. Congress that would suspend assistance to Philippine police or military until human rights abuses cease and the perpetrators are held accountable.
Jersey City is the first city on the East Coast to extend protections for human rights defenders who may be targeted by the Philippine government and to the Philippine Human Rights Act currently backed by 28 U.S. lawmakers, none of whom are from New Jersey.
Fil-Am Councilman at-large Rolando Lavarro said the “extraterritorial implications of the Anti-Terror Law is real, and as a country we should protect U.S. citizens whether here or traveling abroad and ensure that their rights protected and that they are not subject to human rights violations.” Lavarro introduced the resolution in the Municipal Council.
The New Jersey for the Philippine Human Rights Act Coalition (NJ4PHRA), which includes Anakbayan NJ, GABRIELA NJ, Malaya Movement NJ chapter, ICHRP and Migrante NJ, as well as other allies and community leaders initiated the call for the resolution.