Washington, DC — On Tuesday, August 6, Brandon Lee, a US citizen from San Francisco, was shot and critically injured outside his home in the Philippines where he has been working and volunteering with human rights organizations for the past ten years. Brandon had been working in the Cordillera region where he was defending rural farmers and indigenous land rights and opposing the growing military presence there. In 2015, the government of the Philippines labeled Brandon an “enemy of the state” for his peaceful work for human rights. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) issued the following statement:
“Acting on his convictions and values, Brandon Lee moved to the Philippines to defend rural famers and indigenous people from a government trying to take their land and trample their rights. For this peaceful work, he was shot in the back at least three times. And even now, his future safety is uncertain. This attack was an obvious attempt by a foreign government to assassinate an American citizen. I call on the US Embassy to ensure Brandon’s safety and take measures to protect him and other Americans in the Philippines. Our entire government must condemn not only the attempted murder of Mr. Lee, but the violent actions from the Duterte government as well.
“Tragically, it is not only Brandon who is in danger. Last year, a report by Global Witness found that 30 environmentalists were also murdered in the Philippines. This is unacceptable. America must always stand up for human rights and against state-led violence, especially when the victims are our own citizens. Following a similar incident where Jamal Khashoggi, an American legal resident, was murdered in Turkey in an operation apparently ordered by the Saudi government, our government issued sanctions on the offenders. I support an investigation into Brandon’s attempted-murder that would hold those responsible to account. We must condemn all political violence and assassinations; otherwise, if our government refuses to stand up for our values, those of us who do, like Brandon, are putting themselves in danger.”