Statement of the Africa Liberal Network Executive Committee
Note to editors:
The Africa Liberal Network is Africa’s largest political affiliation, consisting of 45 member parties from over 25 countries. The following statement is made by the network’s Executive Committee in solidarity with the ALN’s sister-network in Asia, the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.
Liberal solidarity across continents
The challenge to liberalism around the globe is clear, and unfortunately is most evident in the Philippines. While it is continents apart from our region, the Africa Liberal Network (ALN) is compelled to contribute its voice to the growing concern to what our allies in the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) call “creeping authoritarianism” in the Philippines.
ALN echoes the statement of Liberal International when it said that the Philippines “is turning rapidly into an illiberal state.” The death toll resulting from the government’s war on drugs continues to escalate, and critics of the anti-drug campaign are callously silenced. The reinstatement of capital punishment is a legislative priority in Congress, and the proposal to lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old is similarly pushed by the country’s present administration.
But the truth must stand.
The truth is corruption is what is a root cause of major socio-political issues in the Philippines. The government’s disregard of human rights and rule of law debase not only the nation’s coffers, but also its people’s dignity.
We urge the Duterte Administration to confront the real issue facing the Philippine society: poverty. We call the country’s leaders to instead provide more opportunities so that people may find jobs, and live the life that they intend where they can contribute meaningfully to society. We appeal that respect for human rights and rule of law become the pillars of governance so citizens can have an equal chance in fulfilling their own destiny. We ask the government to face these glaring truths:
That it cannot win its war on drugs if it does not address poverty;
That political persecution backfires when based on repetitive lies;
That capital punishment is outdated, ineffective, and especially inhumane; and
That lowering the age of criminal responsibility reflects a perverted sense of justice.
We also urge organisations worldwide that believe in democracy to call out populists and tyrants, to speak truth to power. International solidarity in defence of freedom is imperative. We stand together with our liberal friends at the forefront.
Luke Akal (ALN Coordinator)
+27 (0)81 4813754