“We will bear witness, and we will keep watch.” This was the central message of several international church organizations and institutions to the Philippine government “in light of the deteriorating situation of civil liberties and human rights” in the country. The said statement supports the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, including recommendations from at least two dozen UN human rights experts for the UN Human Rights Council to “establish an on-the-ground independent, impartial investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines”. The said statement comes before the joint informal meeting initiated by Iceland and the Philippines in Geneva, Switzerland on Friday, September 18.

Initial signatories to the statement include ACT Alliance; Anglican Church of Canada; Christian Conference of Asia; Council for World Mission; General Board of Global Ministries – The United Methodist Church; Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ; International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines; Kairos: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; National Council of Churches in Australia; National Council of Churches in Korea; National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA; Presbyterian Church USA; United Society Partners in the Gospel, UK; United Church of Canada; United Evangelical Mission; Uniting Church in Australia; Uniting World; World Communion of Reformed Churches; and, World Student Christian Federation.

The statement was formally launched during the International Ecumenical Convocation on the Defense of Human Rights in the Philippines on 17 September, co-sponsored by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice).