Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the draft DepEd curriculum citing red-tagging and EJKs as human rights violations

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the draft DepEd curriculum citing red-tagging and EJKs as human rights violations

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the recent move by the Department of Education (DepEd) to recognise ‘red-tagging, trolling, and extrajudicial killings (EJKs)’ as examples of serious human rights violations in its draft curriculum for Araling Panlipunan in basic education.

As the country’s independent national human rights institution, CHR has long denounced the act of red-tagging and EJKs. The Commission particularly stresses that red-tagging only serves to stigmatise and silence individuals and groups critical of the government or advocating for social justice. More alarmingly, however, is that this practice has resulted in numerous human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, torture, and even arbitrary executions.[1][2]

In our calls to the government to uphold domestic and international human rights standards—such as right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment, and the right to due process and presumption of innocence—DepEd’s decision to incorporate the recognition of red-tagging, trolling, and extrajudicial killings as human rights violations into its curriculum is a significant step towards promoting a culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law among young Filipinos.

The Commission believes that this proposition will not only help raise awareness among students on the dangers of red-tagging, but also on the importance of protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals.

In addition, CHR also notes that DepEd’s recent draft curriculum is consistent with their existing policy on Rights-Based Education (RBE) Framework for Philippine basic education. The RBE Framework emphasizes the need to integrate human rights concepts, values, and principles across all subjects and levels of education. This inclusion of red-tagging, trolling, and EJKs as human rights violations shows a concrete example of the application of the RBE Framework in addressing human rights issues. Likewise, it provides an opportunity for students to critically analyse the complex and multi-faceted nature of human rights violations, and to explore ways to address them through peaceful and lawful means.

The Commission urges the DepEd to ensure that the implementation of the curriculum is consistent with the principles of human rights education, and that it provides accurate and balanced information on the issue. We also call on other branches of the government to take concrete steps to address the root causes of red-tagging and ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are held accountable.

CHR hopes that this commitment from the DepEd is replicated by other stakeholders and government agencies to protect and promote human rights in all aspects of Philippine society.

[1] Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the attempt to trivialize and justify the dangers of red-tagging. 11 April 2022.

[2] Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the spate of red-tagging reports