November 12th, 2019

Safety fears after Philippines names Oxfam a front for communist terror

Safety fears after Philippines names Oxfam a front for communist terror


  • A national council of churches and women’s political advocacy group were likewise singled out by the country’s defence establishment this week

  • Critics say the practice, known locally as ‘red-tagging’, has been used to silence dissent and puts people’s lives at risk



A decision by the Philippines’ armed forces to label 18 groups, including the local arm of the charity Oxfam, a federation of churches and an organisation that advocates for women’s rights as fronts for “communist terrorism” risks the lives of their members, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist has claimed.

While in other countries, identifying someone as a communist militant might be written off as “besmirching” their good name, in the Philippines “red-tagging” – as the practice is known locally – “causes death”, said Neri Colemnares, chairman of the leftist political group Bayan Muna and head of the Philippines’ National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

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