Sr. Fox urges Australia to condemn Duterte’s anti-terror law

Sr. Fox urges Australia   to condemn Duterte’s anti-terror law

Sr. Patricia Fox lights a candle during a prayer vigil for the slain Catholic priests outside Quiapo Church in Manila, June 18, 2018. RICHARD DE LEON

A nun deported from the Philippines after speaking out about human rights abuses is urging Australia to condemn the Duterte administration’s anti-terrorism law.

More than a year after arriving back in Melbourne, Sister Patricia Fox said it was time to pressure the Philippine government on human rights issues.

“This law has now added a ‘legal’ cover to continue the crack down on any opposition,” the 73-year-old said in a statement issued July 6.

Petitions are piling up at the Supreme Court to annul the new law amid concerns that it will target dissidents.

The measure, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 3, allows the surveillance, warrantless arrest and detention of suspects for up to 24 days.

Australia has earlier joined the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada to condemn China for imposing a controversial security law in Hong Kong.

Sr. Fox of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion asked the Australian government to “similarly vocal” in deploring Duterte’s anti-terrorism law.

Just like China’s national security law, she said that Duterte’s anti-terror law targets critics of the government in other countries.

“This becomes even more worrying particularly for Filipinos living in Australia and enhancing culturally and economically Australian society,” she said.

The nun also called on the Australian government to stop military aid to the Philippines amid alleged human rights abuses by the police and state forces.

“We demand a stop to Australian military aid to a government that has no respect for human rights,” she said.

Sr. Fox had lived as a missionary in the Philippines for almost three decades but had been blacklisted from the country in November 2018 for challenging policies of Duterte.

Duterte himself authorized the Immigration bureau to investigate the nun for joining protest rallies and for supposedly violating the terms of her missionary visa.

Sr. Fox is now serving as spokesperson on human rights of the Philippine-Australia Solidarity Association.