Greta Thunberg Shows Support For Climate Activists In The Philippines Fighting Against New Terror Law

Aisling O'Connor

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has called for the anti-terrorism law in the Philippines to be repealed amid fears that the rule will impede human rights, as reported by The Phil Star.

The 17-year old took to Instagram Tuesday to encourage her 10.4 million followers to sign a petition calling to repeal the law, one of several petitions that have been created to fight back against the new legislation.

Thunberg voiced her support for Filipino climate activists due to fears that they would be prevented from protesting due to the terror law.

The new law, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month, is said to use a vague and broad definition of terrorism, which may negatively impact those involved in peaceful protests such as Thunberg's #FridayForFuture sit-outs. According to The Guardian, the law allows authorities to hold citizens in custody for weeks without charge and can even restrict access to humanitarian aid. In particular, the law deems anyone who provides "material" support to activities or groups that are considered terrorists culpable as well.

"Despite the dangers they face every day, environmental defenders are steadfastly the first and last line of defense for our planet. In this era of runaway climate crisis and pandemics emerging from nature under siege, we have to resist laws that undermine our ability to protect our rights to a balanced and healthful ecology, and most especially, the right to life of everyone," the petition read.

In 2019, 47 environmental activists and defenders were killed in the Philippines, which is a 53 percent increase from 2018, from 30 deaths, The Phil Star reported.

According to The Guardian, the president has the right to appoint an anti-terrorism council, which has the power to brand individuals and groups as terrorists. If this happens, they can be held without charge for almost a month. The new terror law will also make it legal to use surveillance and wiretaps for up to 90 days and allow for extreme punishments such as life in prison without parole.

Duterte said in a televised address to the public that those not planning attacks such as bombing a church or public areas to derail the nation do not need to be afraid of the new law.

"Do not be afraid if you are not a terrorist," he said.

This is not the first time climate activists have been branded as terrorists. In 2019, Amnesty International expressed disappointment in a press release when peaceful climate protesters in the U.K. were referred to the Home Office anti-terrorism program.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Greta Thunberg was nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, as, according to Swedish lawmakers Jens Holm and Hakan Svenneling, her calls for complying with the Paris Agreement and advocating for reducing emissions are acts of peace.