For more updates: Karapatan Monitor for July – September 2018: http://www.karapatan.org/Karapatan_Monitor_July-Sept2018
Press Release
November 28, 2018

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +63918-9790580

Justice for Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises! Stop the attacks against rights defenders!

It has been a year since the killing human rights defenders Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises. On November 28, 2017, two unidentified gunmen linked to a local politician’s private army shot and killed Badayos and Moises while they were on a fact-finding mission in Brgy. San Ramon, Bayawan City, Negros Oriental. Elisa, or “Nene” among friends, was the coordinator of Karapatan Negros Oriental while Eleuterio was a farmer and active member of Mantapi Ebwan Farmer’s Association.

“Our country is enveloped by a climate of impunity, deliberately preserved by the rich and powerful. The killing of Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises remind us that we are far from a society which respects and upholds people’s rights, and that we may even have regressed from the little progress we have made. Both have given their lives fighting alongside the marginalized, and it is this resistance, courage and fire that the Duterte government and some private interests desperately tried to put out. They have not succeeded,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

The Karapatan official noted how landlessness continue to starve off farmers. “The same situation which prompted Badayos and others to initiate a fact-finding mission was also the same circumstance which triggered the land occupation and cultivation of farmers in Sagay, Negros Occidental. The latter resulted to the death of nine sugarcane farmers and their families. This injustice is a vicious cycle that enriches those that are already wealthy and kills those who are already dying,” she said.

Palabay also reiterated that Duterte’s continued red-tagging against Karapatan and the violations done on its human rights workers on the ground are linked. Karapatan said that at least 47 of its human rights workers have been killed by State forces since 2001. “Karapatan has been mentioned six times by the President, always to red-tag and diminish our work. The President’s words translate to a directive by his State security forces, and become an idea easily proliferated by the public. Thus, Duterte and his mouth is not only a danger to rights defenders, it is a danger to poor Filipinos,” Palabay emphasized.

The attacks have aggravated. In this context, human rights organizations have been working for the passage of the Human Rights Defender’s Bill, which aims to provide legal recognition and protection for human rights activists. Palabay also mentioned that human rights instruments such as the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which affirms the responsibility of government around the world to uphold the rights of human rights defenders, exist, but they are largely set aside.

“Those engaged in human rights work know that governments, contrary to their supposed mandate as duty-bearers of rights, can be the foremost barriers in the realization of human rights. However, we also know that people like Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises have been the spark which created a wildfire of kindred and passionate individuals ready to struggle for people’s rights. We honor them and their selfless contributions today. Needless of Duterte’s baseless rants, we are proud of our record of human rights advocacy. Every day, despite the criminalization of human rights work and the graver challenges that we face under this regime, we push forward, determined to actualize the kind of just and humane society that colleagues like Elisa Badayos fought for,” Palabay concluded.

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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
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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.