Australian solon seeks law vs HR violators
MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila de Lima has found another supporter in Australian opposition lawmaker Chris Hayes who urged his government to adopt a measure similar to the US Global Magnitsky Act that sanctions those Washington sees as human rights offenders, freezes their assets and bans them from entering the United States. In a speech before the Australian House of Representatives on Feb. 26, Hayes assailed President Duterte’s war on drugs and the “extrajudicial executions” linked to his war against drugs.
“President Duterte certainly acts with some impunity, regardless of the UN Human Rights Council resolution, which has now determined that there should be a transparent inquiry into these extrajudicial executions in the Philippines,” said Hayes, the chief opposition whip of the Australian Labor Party.
“The way [Duterte] deals with many of his detractors is similar to the case we see with respect to … De Lima. She’s an elected senator of the Philippines parliament, but she continues to be detained on trumped up charges, certainly politically motivated, and has still not had access to a fair trial,” he added.
Follow US lead
“She was a known critic of the President and the way he has administered his antidrug campaign and deals with human rights advocates. [Her] commitment to democracy, justice and respect for the rule of law is certainly commendable and, in these circumstances, most courageous,” he said. The Australian lawmaker asked his government to follow the lead of the United States in approving a law similar to the US Global Magnitsky Act.“As members of the concerned international community, we have a moral, if not legal responsibility, to do all we can to encourage countries, particularly in our region, to adhere to their international obligations,” Hayes said.
“This is even more so given Australia’s strategic and defense relationships with the Philippines. The Philippines should not be allowed to continue to flout the UN resolution simply because it has the backing of the People’s Republic of China,” he argued.
In a handwritten message, De Lima expressed her gratitude to Hayes for recognizing her plight by pushing for a measure that would also allow the Australian government to freeze all assets of Philippine officials within its jurisdiction.
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