Press Statement | March 1, 2018

Reference:
Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831 (also on WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal)
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +63918-9790580

Karapatan files complaints to four UN experts, insists on Callamard’s visit to investigate EJKs

On March 1, 2018, Karapatan submitted letters of complaints to four United Nations independent experts on the persistent and repeated threats and vilification that the President himself has hurled against Karapatan, inciting the military and police forces to escalate the suppression and repression of Karapatan personnel and other progressive organizations in the country.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay sent the organization’s letters of allegation to UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst, UN SR on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Annalisa Ciampi, UN SR on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression David Kaye, and UN SR on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamard.

“Dutere has alleged six times in his speeches and press conferences that Karapatan is a ‘legal front’ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, further making our human rights workers on the ground targets of state forces and considered fair game to any and all forms of state-sponsored attacks. In fact, many of our human rights defenders have already been the subject of harassment and intimidation efforts, and even extrajudicial killings by state forces. Such allegations are a violation of our freedom of association and expression, and poses a real danger to many human rights defenders on the ground,” said Palabay.

Palabay also assailed the recent statement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on the proposed country visit of Agnes Callamard to probe Duterte’s drug war. “The singling out of UN Special Rapporteur Callamard is indicative of the Duterte regime’s apprehension and anxiety in being investigated for human rights violations in line with the government’s war on drugs campaign. Indeed, when the guilty is put on the defensive, they resort to ad hominem tirades and outright bullying. The Duterte regime and its mouthpieces are but cowards who like to maintain a tough façade, but are actually panic-stricken and scared of the findings being used to finally bring justice to the victims of this regime’s anti-people policies,” she added.

“We are almost certain that Roque will again deflect the issue, or ignore it altogether. No matter, deflecting and ignoring the issue, which the Duterte regime and his rabid attack dog Roque has continuously done, will not magically erase the numerous rights violations that this murderous government has committed,” Palabay further said.

Karapatan has previously filed complaints to UN SR Agnes Callamard and Michel Forst on April 10, 2017 and December 2, 2017, respectively. The letters of allegation were about cases of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by State security forces in line with the Duterte government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

“We are being targeted for speaking out against the murderous and tyrannical Duterte regime. We will continue to exhaust all mechanism for redress and protection, and exact accountability from the Duterte regime and its state forces. This government is blurring the line between combatants and non-combatants, ensuring that all genuine opposition are unjustly penalized for exercising their rights to assembly, protest, and organize. For as long as the Duterte regime continues with its rampage of human rights violations in line with the drug war and Oplan Kapayapaan, Karapatan and other groups will continue with its campaigns to demand accountability and justice, including engaging with UN mechanisms,” concluded Palabay.

*Copies of the complaints are available upon request. Please send a request to karapatan@karapatan.org.

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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.

———————————————————————
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.