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Philippines: Conflicts and Human Rights Under Duterte

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Philippines: Conflicts and Human Rights Under Duterte

Duterte Government and Rebel negotiating teams in public forum in London.

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has shocked the world in the last few months with an estimated 5-6,000 extrajudicial killings in his “war against drugs”. Already there are reports of political activists being killed under the cover of this campaign by local police and death squads.  Much less media coverage has been given, in the confusing reconfiguration of Philippine politics under Duterte, to the current peace talks between the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) guerrillas to end 48 years of armed conflict. It is estimated that the armed conflict – the longest in Asia – has claimed around 40,000 lives to date.

This month will see the third round of these talks, which have been sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Government, taking place in Rome. It marks a crucial stage in the negotiations as the agenda turns to economic and social justice, and the issue of the current extra-judicial killings must come under discussion.

The Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP), in co-operation with the UK- based NGO Conciliation Resources and the UNISON Filipino Activist Network, is organising a public discussion in London which will involve both government and NDF negotiators who will have come straight from the Rome talks. The meeting is responding to the enormous interest among the thousands of Filipinos in the UK, many of them working in jobs in health and social services. The UK has the largest Filipino migrant population in Europe.

MEDIA COVERAGE IS REQUESTED FOR THE FOLLOWING:
PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
 

27th January 2017, Friday, 5.00pm

The UK public forum on Conflicts and Human Rights under Duterte will take place at 5.00 pm on Friday 27 January 2017 at the UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY. There will be a special briefing for the press at 6.30 pm where interviews can be held.

30th January 2017, Monday, 4.00pm

A meeting between the peace teams and MPs will also take place take place hosted by Nicole Piche, Coordinator/Legal Adviser, All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group on Monday 30 January, at the Houses of Commons, Room. There will be an opportunity for press interviews after the meeting from 4.00pm.

Media liaisions:

Jamima Fagta
E: secretary@chrp.org.uk
M: +447958 389370

Rafael Joseph Maramag
E: info@chrp.org.uk
M: +447958 482753

Related links:

Eventbrite page: www.london-peace-forum.eventbrite.co.uk
Website info: www.chrp.org.uk/2017/london-peace-forum-venue-changed

Download versions: pdf, docx, jpg p1, jpg p2

January 19, 2017   No Comments

Just & Lasting Peace PH: A Public Forum on the Ongoing Peace Talks in the Philippines

Open below in a new web browser

The public forum aims to provide updates on the ongoing Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Why are there peace talks happening in the Philippines?

A civil war has been happening in the Philippines since 1969, the longest communist insurgency in Asia. Historical and systemic injustice and oppression experienced by the majority of the Filipino people have driven many Filipinos to seek fundamental societal changes through armed struggle. That civil war continues throughout the country today.

The peace talks thus far

The first round of talks between the GRP and NDFP were successfully concluded in August 2016 wherein a six-point agreement was signed in Oslo, Norway. During the second round of talks in October also in Oslo, the GRP and NDFP were able to reach common drafts for the framework and outlines of the substantive agenda on socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms, and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. A draft amnesty proclamation was said to be submitted to the Office of the President covering the release of 434 political prisoners, which would bring about a bilateral ceasefire agreement between the GRP and NDFP.

At present, both parties have indefinite unilateral ceasefires in place. To date, the amnesty granting the unconditional release of all political prisoners are still stalled.

The third round of talks are scheduled on 16-25 January 2017 in Rome Italy where the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which would address the roots of the armed conflict and would be the main framework for a just and lasting peace, would be tabled, amongst other agenda.

Filipino migrants engagement

During the opening ceremony of the first round of peace talks in Oslo, a delegation from Filipino migrants in different parts of Europe was able to present a document containing their migrants agenda — issues and demands dear to the hearts of Filipino migrants. Filipino migrants now number more than 10 million scattered in different parts of the world and their remittances have played a big role in keeping the Philippine economy afloat.

Click on the image thumbnail to make them larger.
Facebook event page here
Register with Eventbrite here

 

 

January 7, 2017   No Comments

On Malacanang’s statement re Karapatan’s report on political killings to UN

April 15, 2017

For reference: Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, 0917-3162831

On Malacanang’s statement re Karapatan’s report on political killings to UN

Instead of Malacanang’s blanket dismissal of allegations that its State security forces have killed peasants and indigenous peoples, it should look into these documented cases substantiated with facts and testimonies, even first-hand witness testimonies identifying the State perpetrators of the political killings. It should initiate prosecution to hold them accountable and rescind the counter-insurgency program that has terrorized peasant and indigenous communities. It should address the thousands of complaints lodged at the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Our broken justice system and domestic institutions have failed the victims and their families. Only one conviction in a local court was attained in the 1,587 victims of political killings during the Arroyo, Aquino and the current Duterte regime. While it true that international institutions should not interfere with domestic affairs, any State is duty-bound to uphold international human rights commitments and therefore is accountable to its peoples according to such commitments.

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org/

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

April 20, 2017   No Comments

Karapatan submits cases of political killings under Duterte to UN

Press Statement
April 11, 2017
 
Reference:      
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

A month before the UN review on PH rights compliance: Karapatan submits cases of political killings under Duterte to UN
 
In a letter of allegation submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial/Summary or Arbitrary Executions Ms. Agnes Callamard yesterday, April 10, 2017, Karapatan submitted documentation on forty-seven (47) victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the Duterte administration, in line with the continuing counter-insurgency program of the government.
 
The said cases were submitted a month before May 8, 2017, the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council, a process whereby the human rights record of a country will be examined by other State. The period under review covers the last four years of the Aquino administration and the first months of the Duterte government. Karapatan also submitted similar complaints during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.
 
“The victims of killings are peasants, indigenous peoples and workers; many faced harassment and villification by the military because of their advocacy and actions to defend people’s rights and are thus considered as human rights defenders,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, in her letter to Callamard. Karapatan urged Callamard to consider, investigate, make recommendations and take any appropriate actions on the cases.
 
“Despite the 2008 report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Philippines by your predecessor, Prof. Philip Alston, strong recommendations on extrajudicial killings perpetrated as part of counter-insurgency programs, was unheeded both by the Arroyo and Aquino governments. Throughout both administrations, political killings of peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and youth continued and intensified. Under Arroyo, Karapatan documented at least 1,206 individual victims of extrajudicial killing. Under Aquino, there were 334 victims of extrajudicial killing,” Palabay explained.
 
Karapatan said that “under Duterte, from July 2016 to March 31, 2017, a total of 47 cases of political killings have been documented by Karapatan.”
 
“These killings are all in the context of the counter-insurgency programs implemented from one regime to another that supposedly seek to end the armed rebellion of revolutionary movements in the Philippines. From Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and to the current Oplan Kapayapaan of Duterte, these counter-insurgency programs have victimized thousands of Filipinos, including struggling communities, tagged as “enemies of the State,” she further stated.
 
Karapatan expressed hope “that Callamard’s findings about the gravity of political killings in the Philippines will convince the Duterte government to completely junk counterinsurgency programs of which EJKs are a major aspect, to issue strong warnings to and prosecute EJK perpetrators, and continue to pursue his efforts at attaining just and lasting peace with the NDFP and the Moro liberation movements.”
 
Palabay said they are working with Rise Up, a campaign network of faith-based institutions and people’s organizations, in preparing similar complaints that will be filed at the UN on cases of extrajudicial killings in line with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
 
Karapatan is also in the process of preparing documentation on other cases of human rights violations such as illegal arrest and detention of civilians and activists, forcible evacuation and bombing of communities, which will be forwarded to relevant mandate holders. The organization also co-convenes the Philippine UPR Watch, a network of faith-based and human rights organizations that engages in the UPR process which will send a delegation of human rights defenders to the UPR this May.
 
*Full copy of letter attached. Information on the submitted cases are available upon request.

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org 
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. 

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web 1 of 1 File(s)
Letter to UNSR EJK April 10, 2017.pdf

April 11, 2017   No Comments

Karapatan submits cases of political killings under Duterte to UN

Press Statement
April 11, 2017

Reference:
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

A month before the UN review on PH rights compliance: Karapatan submits cases of political killings under Duterte to UN

In a letter of allegation submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial/Summary or Arbitrary Executions Ms. Agnes Callamard yesterday, April 10, 2017, Karapatan submitted documentation on forty-seven (47) victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines under the Duterte administration, in line with the continuing counter-insurgency program of the government.

The said cases were submitted a month before May 8, 2017, the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council, a process whereby the human rights record of a country will be examined by other State. The period under review covers the last four years of the Aquino administration and the first months of the Duterte government. Karapatan also submitted similar complaints during the Arroyo and Aquino administrations.

“The victims of killings are peasants, indigenous peoples and workers; many faced harassment and villification by the military because of their advocacy and actions to defend people’s rights and are thus considered as human rights defenders,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, in her letter to Callamard. Karapatan urged Callamard to consider, investigate, make recommendations and take any appropriate actions on the cases.

“Despite the 2008 report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Philippines by your predecessor, Prof. Philip Alston, strong recommendations on extrajudicial killings perpetrated as part of counter-insurgency programs, was unheeded both by the Arroyo and Aquino governments. Throughout both administrations, political killings of peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and youth continued and intensified. Under Arroyo, Karapatan documented at least 1,206 individual victims of extrajudicial killing. Under Aquino, there were 334 victims of extrajudicial killing,” Palabay explained.

Karapatan said that “under Duterte, from July 2016 to March 31, 2017, a total of 47 cases of political killings have been documented by Karapatan.”

“These killings are all in the context of the counter-insurgency programs implemented from one regime to another that supposedly seek to end the armed rebellion of revolutionary movements in the Philippines. From Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and to the current Oplan Kapayapaan of Duterte, these counter-insurgency programs have victimized thousands of Filipinos, including struggling communities, tagged as “enemies of the State,” she further stated.

Karapatan expressed hope “that Callamard’s findings about the gravity of political killings in the Philippines will convince the Duterte government to completely junk counterinsurgency programs of which EJKs are a major aspect, to issue strong warnings to and prosecute EJK perpetrators, and continue to pursue his efforts at attaining just and lasting peace with the NDFP and the Moro liberation movements.”

Palabay said they are working with Rise Up, a campaign network of faith-based institutions and people’s organizations, in preparing similar complaints that will be filed at the UN on cases of extrajudicial killings in line with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

Karapatan is also in the process of preparing documentation on other cases of human rights violations such as illegal arrest and detention of civilians and activists, forcible evacuation and bombing of communities, which will be forwarded to relevant mandate holders. The organization also co-convenes the Philippine UPR Watch, a network of faith-based and human rights organizations that engages in the UPR process which will send a delegation of human rights defenders to the UPR this May.

*Full copy of letter attached. Information on the submitted cases are available upon request.

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org/

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from Andy Whitmore | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Letter to UNSR EJK April 10, 2017.pdf

April 11, 2017   No Comments

We Want Genuine Peace in Our Land!

Dear friends,

Sharing with you a statement of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance – Karapatan on the recently concluded Solidarity and Peace Mission in Malibcong, Abra on April 3-6, 2017, for your news stories and reference. Please attribute data and views to CHRA-Karapatan. Thank you.

Karapatan Public Information Desk

———————————–
We Want Genuine Peace in Our Land!
https://www.scribd.com/document/344480480/WE-WANT-GENUINE-PEACE-IN-OUR-LAND

The people of Malibcong, Abra call for peace and expressed their support for the peace talks highlighting their demand for State security forces to uphold and fully adhere to all State obligations in their conduct of war.

The Kakailian Salakniban tay Amin a Nagtaudan (KASTAN) – the Abra provincial chapter of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Abra Human Rights Movement (AHRM), Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), Cordillera Elders Alliance (CEA), Karapatan National Alliance for Human Rights, Kabataan Partylist (KPL), Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (RECCORD), and Innabuyog-Cordillera strongly support the people’s calls and further demand for accountability of violators to be exacted.

Civilians have become targets in the recent intense military combat operations of the notorious 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) under the 7th Infantry Division (ID) led by Lt. Col. Tomas Dominic Baluga, known as the “Palparan Battalion.” The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) declared the municipality as a “hostile area” to justify military presence and actions. They also claim that “other groups and people” are required to get AFP permission before entering and holding activities in communities.

The AFP committed the following human rights and international humanitarian law violations as validated by a Peace Mission held in Malibcong, Abra this April 3-6, 2017:
• Curtailment of the right to mobility – people are not allowed to freely move within their community to visit and till their swidden farms and pastureland in Malibcong and the whole Malanas line. The AFP requires the people to present their valid ID or residence certificate before going in or out of the community. They were told not to go to the forests and that they have to seek permission or inform the military forces of their whereabouts and schedules before going out of the community.
• Food blockade – Entry or purchase of food in the community is limited, as the military troops suspect that if “extra” food is brought in, this will be given to the NPA.
• Encampment within residential area endangering civilians and several cases of violation of domicile
• Indiscriminate air strikes using phosphorus bombs resulting to the burning of the communal forest of the indigenous people of Mataragan and Bangilo.
• Illegal arrest and detention – 4 cases of illegal arrest and detention including 1 minor and 2 women.
• Threat/Harassment/Intimidation – Lt. Col. Baluga openly issued a threat against civilians suspected to be supporters of the New People’s Army in a community meeting. “Daytoy nga Bala biruken na ti kalaban na pati dagiti supporter na.” (Bullets will not only be used to hunt the enemy but also their supporters.)

We condemn all these violations of the the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) that have sown terror in the Mabaka Gubang and Banao ancestral domain.

Farming was disrupted since the indiscriminate bombings between the boundaries of Sitio Putol, Sitio Matalibeng, and Bangilo last March 16, 2017. Rice fields and swidden farms, the people’s main source of livelihood, are unattended. Economic activity is hampered because of fear. They are forced to stay inside the community without assurance that food will be available the next day.

Classes from Kinder to High School in Mataragan and Bangilo were suspended for one week after the bombing violating the children’s rights to education.

The Peace and Solidarity Mission organized by CHRA was not spared from intimidation. Lt. Col. Baluga and his troops attempted to bar the mission team from entering the community and holding activities in the area, despite compliance with protocol courtesy calls to appropriate local government units.

Inspite of this, the people of Brgys. Umnap, Buanao, Lat-ey, Paqued and Mataragan persisted to hold community assemblies as part of the Peace Mission as a statement to the AFP that the rights and welfare of the civilians should be upheld and protected, especially in a civil war. The harassments, surveillance, outright threats from the AFP failed to cow the people’s assertion of rights.

We call on the people to stand with the Mabaka, Gubang and Banao tribes and other militarized communities in the country. As the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have resumed, we call for support for the CARHRIHL to be fully implemented, and for an independent investigation be conducted on the aerial bombing conducted by the AFP.

With the foreseen negative economic impact of the miltarization of the Malibcong, we also appeal for financial and material support for the people.

Scrap Oplan Kapayapaan! No to all-out war!
Stop militarization of indigenous communities!
Pull out AFP troops from ancestral domains and territories of national minorities!
Hold the 24th IBPA and the 7th ID accountable for their human rights and international humanitarian law violations!
Struggle for peace based on justice!

For reference:
Imelda Tabiando
Secretary General, CHRA-Karapatan
mobile number: 09189199007

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org/

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

April 11, 2017   No Comments

Canadians press for release of all political prisoners in PH

Press Statement
April 10, 2017

Reference:
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Amid support for the GRP-NDFP peace talks Canadians press for release of all political prisoners in PH
http://karapatan.org/Amid+support+for+the+GRP-NDFP+peace+talks%2C+Canadians+press+for+release+of+all+political+prisoners+in+PH

As they expressed their support for the continuation of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, more than 200 Canadian trade unions, churches, ecumenical organizations, solidarity and human rights organizations, academics, journalists and individuals in Canada also called for the release of all political prisoners in the Philippines.

“The release of all political prisoners is an issue of justice. We appeal to President Duterte to protect the right of his country’s citizens to speak and act on their political beliefs. We urge him to rectify the injustice committed against those who are imprisoned for exercising their right by releasing all political prisoners now,” they stated in an open letter addressed to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The said letter from Canadians for Just Peace in the Philippines, an international platform which supports the Philippine peace process, was sent to Duterte on April 4, 2017, during the fourth round of GRP-NDFP peacetalks in The Netherlands.

The Canadians for Just Peace in the Philippines also called on Duterte to specifically release the three (3) consultants of the NDFP who remain in detention as a confidence building measure, as well as to immediately release 130 ailing political prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

“It is our firm belief that the release of all political prisoners is a critical step to achieve success in the peace talks,” they stated.

Meanwhile, Karapatan said “any and all means to release all political prisoners are welcome, but the GRP should be constantly reminded that every day that passes with them in jail, while their numbers continue to increase with the recent illegal arrests and detention of political activists, is another day of injustice against them.”

In the GRP-NDFP Joint Statement signed on April 6, 2017, the GRP reported that nineteen (19) political prisoners, including three NDFP consultants, have been recommended for conditional pardon to the Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance or Pardon (PCBREP). The GRP also said that it will assist in the release of two (2) consultants recently arrested, while both parties committed to continue to explore all expeditious and acceptable modes for the release of the rest of the prisoners.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that “the general and unconditional amnesty of all political prisoners remains as the most expeditious mode of release of political prisoners.”

“Duterte should be reminded that only the warmongers in his military and moronic legislators like Antonio Trillanes, Panfilo Lacson and Magdalo men oppose the release of political prisoners. They have no credibility to speak on matters of justice, hence lending your ear to these peace saboteurs will amount to nothing but unpeace,” Palabay concluded.

*For a copy of the full open letter by Canadians for Just Peace in the Philippines, please see this link: http://karapatan.org/An+Open+Letter+to+President+Rodrigo+Duterte+from+Canadians+for+Just+Peace+in+the+Philippines

April 11, 2017   No Comments

Dismay over Liam Fox’s claim of ‘shared values’ with Duterte’s brutal regime

Dismay over Liam Fox’s claim of ‘shared values’ with Duterte’s brutal regime

UK trade minister is in the Philippines to meet a president who has publicly encouraged civilians to kill drug addicts

Oliver Holmes, Anushka Asthana and Rowena Mason

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/04/liam-fox-meets-philippine-president-rodrigo-duterte

4 April 2017

Liam Fox’s declaration of “shared values” with Rodrigo Duterte, the
Philippines leader whose war on drugs has killed 7,000 people, has
prompted dismay about the government’s approach to human rights as it
seeks post-Brexit trade deals.

The international trade secretary, who will also visit Malaysia and
Indonesia on his trip, said in an article published in local media that
he wanted Britain to build a stronger relationship with the Philippines
based on “a foundation of shared values and shared interests”.

As Fox visited the Philippines, Theresa May was in Saudi Arabia as part
of a wider government effort to shore up the UK’s trading position after
Brexit. Speaking to the BBC, she refused to criticise the government’s
bombardment of Yemen, which is estimated to have killed more than 10,000
civilians and displaced more than 3 million people.

In the Philippines, Fox insisted that Brexit would broaden the UK’s
outlook, arguing that the UK would emerge “a stronger, fairer, more
united and more outward-looking nation”.

A Whitehall source told the Guardian that Fox had raised concerns during
Monday’s Philippines visit and meeting with Duterte, whose nickname is
“the Punisher”. They said the minister made clear that questions over
human rights and corruption would act as a barrier to future trade
opportunities.

Nevertheless, the meeting with Duterte, who has publicly encouraged
civilians to kill drug addicts and is somewhat of an international
pariah, received heavy criticism.

As Theresa May flew into Saudi Arabia, also as part of the government’s
“Global Britain” initiative, Philip Hammond was in India to promote
British business, while Boris Johnson met with the German foreign
secretary, Sigmar Gabriel, in London.

But senior figures in Westminster alarmed by the trips to Saudi and the
Philippines urged caution in the government’s drive to build closer
economic links further afield.

Harriet Harman, the Labour MP who chairs parliament’s joint committee on
human rights, said the government should never sacrifice core British
principles when seeking new relationships. “There is a real danger that
in our desperation to conclude trade deals respect for human rights,
which is in every EU contract, will just go out of the window,” she told
the Guardian. “The government must not let that happen.”

The prime minister said her “May doctrine” was to do everything in the
British national interest, including snapping up trade opportunities
that could bring “jobs and prosperity to the UK”. She said a separate
focus of her trip to Saudi was counter-terrorism cooperation, and
insisted she always promoted British values.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, called on May to put human rights at
the “centre of her talks” in the region, pointing out that a Saudi-led
coalition bombing Yemen had left thousands dead and millions in need of
humanitarian help.

The shadow trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, warned about Fox’s
“association” with Duterte, who has said he personally killed criminals
during his 22 years as a mayor of Davao city, including throwing one
suspect to his death from a helicopter.

Gardiner said: “We want to expand trade with countries all around the
world and it is right that the government should be pursuing that
vigorously. But the thing you have to be very careful about is that we
do not sacrifice fundamental principles in the process. It is frankly
shocking that Liam Fox in his speech in the Philippines talked about the
shared common values that we have.

“I’m sorry, but we do not have these shared common values with President
Duterte who wants to bring back the death penalty and lower the age of
criminal responsibility to nine.”

The Philippines’ international relations have become strained under
Duterte. He lashed out at the UN for criticising him, labelling the body
“stupid”, and he called former US president Barack Obama a “son of a whore”.

Last month, he warned the EU not to “fuck with us” after the European
parliament passed a resolution expressing “grave concern over credible
reports” that Philippine police were engaged in extrajudicial killings,
a claim officers strongly deny.

The resolution also referenced Duterte’s open threats to kill human
rights campaigners.

Fox said in his article that the UK and Philippines have a
“well-established and strong relationship built on a foundation of
shared values and shared interests and we want this partnership to
continue to flourish”.

He added that Philippine firms and investors should know the UK remains
“open for business”, according the article, which the British embassy in
Manila posted on Twitter. Philippine companies have invested over £1bn
into the UK since 2014, it added.

Fox’s department was created after the EU referendum in an attempt to
secure trade deals with non-EU countries.

On the same day Theresa May trigged article 50, Fox wrote an article in
the UK’s Express newspaper detailing his vision for a “truly global
Britain”.

He wrote: “From Australia to China, old friends and new allies alike are
queuing up to renew their trading relationships with Britain.”

The Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Tom Brake, said:
“Duterte is one of the 21st century’s most sinister leaders and Liam Fox
has flown halfway around the world to grovel to him. The fact that the
first visit made by Fox since triggering article 50 is to the
Philippines shows just how low this government is willing to stoop in
order to secure even a minimal trade deal in the future.

“No amount of pandering to corrupt regimes can replace our membership of
the single market, which is why the Liberal Democrats will continue to
fight against the hard, divisive Brexit this government is pursuing.”

A DIT spokesperson said: “The UK has a well established and strong
relationship with the countries of south-east Asia. While in the region,
the international trade secretary is meeting government representatives
and addressing hundreds of businesses and trade associations.

“We do not shy away from confronting barriers to trade and investment –
including issues of human rights and corruption. Greater knowledge and
understanding of one another will increase our ability to address those
issues that concern us.”

Meanwhile in London, Boris Johnson and his German counterpart gave
contrasting accounts of talks on the Brexit process. Speaking at a press
conference afterwards, Gabriel said that having no deal “is not the best
deal for Britain and the European Union” – but added that he believed
“the burden for the Brits is higher than for the Europeans”.

But Johnson restated his claim that Britain would be fine without a
deal, saying: “If you ask me ‘If we don’t get a deal would the UK
survive?’ I think we would more than survive.”

April 8, 2017   No Comments

CANADA: Open Letter to President Duterte to free all political prisoners

Dear Friends,

Attached is an open letter signed by Canadian trade unions, churches,
ecumenical organizations, solidarity and human rights organizations,
academics, etc and individuals calling on President Duterte to free all
political prisoners. The letter has been sent also to the GRP panel
members.

In solidarity with Filipinos back home and around the world, we hope for
a productive round of the peace talks.

Bern Jagunos (on behalf of ICHRP Canada)

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners
#JustPeacePH

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Open Letter to President Duterte for release of all political prisoners.docx

Posted by: International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

April 5, 2017   No Comments

[Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines included below]
Dear Friends,

Attached is an open letter signed by Canadian trade unions, churches,
ecumenical organizations, solidarity and human rights organizations,
academics, etc and individuals calling on President Duterte to free all
political prisoners. The letter has been sent also to the GRP panel
members.

In solidarity with Filipinos back home and around the world, we hope for
a productive round of the peace talks.

Bern Jagunos (on behalf of ICHRP Canada)

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners
#JustPeacePH

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Open Letter to President Duterte for release of all political prisoners.docx

April 5, 2017   No Comments

Download Save to OneDrive – Personal

[Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines included below]
Dear Friends,

Attached is an open letter signed by Canadian trade unions, churches,
ecumenical organizations, solidarity and human rights organizations,
academics, etc and individuals calling on President Duterte to free all
political prisoners. The letter has been sent also to the GRP panel
members.

In solidarity with Filipinos back home and around the world, we hope for
a productive round of the peace talks.

Bern Jagunos (on behalf of ICHRP Canada)

#FreeAllPoliticalPrisoners
#JustPeacePH

__._,_.___
Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web
1 of 1 File(s)
Open Letter to President Duterte for release of all political prisoners.docx

Posted by: International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines <icchrp@gmail.com>

April 5, 2017   No Comments

Karapatan: There can be no peace if landlessness remains unsolved 

Press Statement
March 31, 2017

Reference:      Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

Karapatan: There can be no peace if landlessness remains unsolved

“Of the 46 victims of political killings under Duterte, majority are from the peasants – leaders and members of local peasant organizations who have been targeted by State security forces and/or private armies of the landed elite for asserting their rights,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the continuing political killings. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today led a nationwide mass action against the spate of extrajudicial killings of peasants.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has specified that among the 46 documented cases by Karapatan, 19 were killed due to agrarian-related disputes. Palabay said that “a genuine land reform program remains an elusive goal as past governments remained hell-bent on passing laws with loopholes that landlords simply skate through.”

“It becomes a more challenging task as those in government also belong to the landed elite in the country. The crafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social Economic Reforms (CASER) is an important undertaking, putting to the table the historical and structural inequalities that has maintained and worsened the feudal exploitation of the majority, with the objective of changing it.”

The CASER is among the substantive agenda in the formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which will tackle free land distribution, among other aspects of agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization. Progress has been notably positive before the GRP cancelled the peace talks. The continuation of the peace talks opens the possibility of continuing discussions, finalization and the eventual signing of the CASER as a binding agreement between the GRP and the NDFP.

Genuine agrarian reform has been a long-standing issue that has plagued the past and present administrations. Among the positive developments under the Duterte administration is the appointment of peasant leader and organizer Rafael Mariano as the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform. The confirmation of his appointment, however, remains in limbo as the Commission on Appointments (CA) bypassed him yet again, along with Department of Social Welfare and Development Sec. Judy Taguiwalo, last March 15, 2017.

Palabay said that “the deferment of confirmation of DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano’s appointment by the CA means there are many forces at work, such as big landlords and corporations, to impede efforts towards free distribution of land to farmers and the moratorium on land conversion. Indeed, when the status quo is threatened from proceeding like business is as usual, efforts of progressive officials who spearhead substantial changes are being blocked.”

“What we need is a government who is for the majority not just in rhetoric, but most importantly, in action. Words of peace have very little bearing when people who fight for their basic rights are being killed on the ground. Walk the talk, Mr. President. You say you will protect the majority of the Filipinos, and who are the majority but the farmers and workers clearly demanding for genuine land reform and an end to contractualization,” added Palabay.

“More than ever, there is urgency to talk about the roots of unrest and armed rebellion. If exploitation, landlessness, and suffering continues without any real prospect of reforms and change, then the people will be duty-bound to exhaust all means possible to address and change the system which, for so long, have perpetrated their destitution,” Palabay concluded.

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties.  It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

April 1, 2017   No Comments