In this file photo taken on December 11, 2019, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gives a speech during a high-level event on climate emergency hosted by the Chilean presidency during the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 at the 'IFEMA - Feria de Madrid' exhibition centre, in Madrid.
AFP/Cristina Quicler
Climate activist Greta Thunberg joins calls to junk anti-terrorism law
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - July 7, 2020 - 12:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg has joined calls to junk the newly-signed anti-terrorism law, which is feared to aggravate the attacks experienced by Filipino environmentalists.

In a tweet Monday, Thunberg retweeted a post by the International Fridays for Future, which said the law puts climate activists and environmental defenders at risk of being tagged as terrorists.

“Please support the climate activists in the Philippines. #JunkTerrorLaw,” she wrote.



Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the contentious terror bill into law, which is seen to threaten people’s basic human rights and freedom of speech. At least four separate petitions at the Supreme Court called for the legislation to be halted.

Environmental groups in the Philippines said the law could result in more attacks against activists protecting the climate and the country’s forests and seas.

The fear that environmental workers may be mistaken for terrorists or rebels is not unfounded. In 2010, botanist Leonard Co and his two assistants were killed in Kananga, Leyte. Although the Philippine Army claimed they were killed in a shootout, the Commission on Human Rights later found that soldiers had mistaken the botanists for rebels.

The Philippines was the deadliest country in the world for environmental and land defenders in 2018, according to international rights watchdog Global Witness.

Last year, 46 environmental defenders were killed in the country—a 53-percent increase from 30 deaths recorded in 2018.

Thunberg has become the global face of a growing youth movement against climate inaction that mobilized millions in worldwide strikes last year. She rose to prominence after she started spending her Fridays outside the parliament of Sweden in 2018, holding a sign reading “School strike for climate.”

The young climate activist was named Time magazine’s person of the year in 2019.

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