International organizations defend CERNET

This article is available in Pilipino

Aktionsbündnis Menschenrechte – Philippines (AMP or Action Network Human Rights Philippines) strongly condemned the the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for bringing fabricated charges against new and former members of the Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET) after baselessly implicating them in “terrorism financing.”

The charges filed are “unsubstantiated, seemingly designed to tarnish CERNET’s reputation and to hinder its operations,” the AMP press release said yesterday, June 4.

“Despite their recognized work for years, CERNET has been the target of unfounded accusations of supporting the communist insurgency in the Philippines,” it said. “Such Red-tagging, or branding of individuals or organizations as ‘terrorists,’ has been a common strategy employed by Philippine security forces to prevent progressive organizations and their staff from carrying out their work.” Before the charges were filed, CERNET was red-tagged during a military and police press conference in Dumaguete City on April 30.

In this regard, AMP is deeply concerned about the weaponization of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws against NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and activists.

“After being grey-listed once again by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) in February 2024, the Philippine government seems to be pressured to show progress in the prosecution of money laundering and terrorism financing cases,” the group said. “And, as a result, the government seems to crackdown on civil society organizations.”

It called for the dismissal of trumped-up cases, and to investigate the instigators of Red-tagging and filing of such cases.

AMP is an initiative of seven major church groups and human-rights organizations based in Cologne, Germany. Its members include Amnesty International Germany, Brot für die Welt, International Peace Observers Network (IPON), MISEREOR, Missio Munich, philippinenbüro e.V., and the United Evangelical Mission (UEM).

AB: International organizations defend CERNET