The prominent Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has joined the Filipino opposition against the new Anti-Terror Bill (ATB) in the Philippines.
The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duerte, signed on 3 July 2020 the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. The new law had already met much criticism from law- and civic groups and activists due to fears that some of its provisions would work against basic human rights and other civil liberties, while also putting climate activist and environmental defenders at risk of being declared and judged as terrorists.
“Environment and land rights advocates, in particular, have been the subject of trumped-up charges, threats, physical attacks and killings before this. We can only expect that the anti-terrorism bill will make things worse for our environmental frontliners. All forms of activism and dissent are being threatened,” says the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) in a tweet on 3 June 2020.
In a tweet on 6 July 2020 the young activist took a stand against the controversial law and encouraged her followers to support Filipino environmentalists.
“Please support the climate activist in the Philippines! #JunkTerrorLaw,” tweeted the Swedish climate activist.
Activists and organizations of all kinds are sceptical about the new anti-terrorism bill because of several things, such as a broad and vague definition of ‘terrorism’ that leaves too much room for unbiased actions, according to YACAP. The Youth Advocates for Climate Action amongst many groups fears that the new law will affect free speech as ‘any social media posts, writing, soundbites judged as “inciting others to commit terrorism” may be criminalized under the Anti-Terrorism Bill’. The new bill will also permit violations of privacy such as surveillance, wiretapping, computer- and network surveillance.
The new Anti-Terrorism Law also allows courts to declare and judge groups and organizations as ‘terrorists’ without notice or hearing.