ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-037-2018

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June 25, 2018
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PHILIPPINES: Indigenous peasant leader killed while two indigenous communities forcibly displaced due to militarization

ISSUES: Killing; human rights defender; threats and intimidation; indigenous people;
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Dear Friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you about the killing of an indigenous peasant leader in Agusan del Norte and the displacement of two indigenous communities. The peasant leader was involved in defending his ancestral land against large-scale mining. The two indigenous communities displaced were subjected to militarization.

CASE NARRATIVE:
Based on the documentation by the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN)
CASE 1 “Human rights defender killed in Agusan del Norte”
On 6 June 2018, Higaonon peasant leader and anti-mining activist, 56-year-old Jose Unahan, a member of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN), a provincial formation of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) was shot dead in Sitio Tagbakon, Brgy. Culit, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. The perpetrator aboard a motorcycle immediately fled in an unknown direction. Jose was involved in his tribe’s defense of their ancestral land against large-scale mining and other extractive industries.
CASE 2 “Dumagat community evacuated due to militarization”
From 15-31 May 2018, some 160 members of the Dumagat tribe were forcibly evacuated from their homes at Sitio Dadiangao, Brgy. Umiray. General Nakar, Quezon Province, due to military operations and encampment of the 80th and 202nd Infantry Brigades of the Philippines Army (PA), 2nd Jungle Fighter Company, and the 2nd Infantry Division-PA in Dumagat community. The military also imposed a food blockade, adding to the misery of the evacuees. The Dumagat evacuees have been temporarily staying at Sitio Campo, Pinamaypayan, Matinik, Mataping and Binabakos General Nakar, Quezon. They used mere tree branches to provide shade and canvas tent as make-shift roof.
CASE 3 “Higaonon families forcibly evacuated due to harassment”
On 26 May 2018 in Misamis Oriental, around 35 Higaonon families (or 158 individuals) from Sitio Camansi, Brgy. Banglay, Lagonglong put up a makeshift evacuation center at the Cagayan de Oro City provincial capitol grounds. The residents were forced to evacuate when soldiers of the 58th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) occupied their homes. It was the community’s sixth forced evacuation since 2015.
The displaced communities were not given food by the local government.
On 6 June 2018, two men who identified themselves as officers from Cagayan de Oro City information office set up a movie screen near the evacuation makeshift camp showing military propaganda. The evacuees were intimidated by the loud music. The two men said they were acting based on orders of the provincial government. Military and police elements were also loitering around the said camp.

According to KARAPATAN-Secretary General, Cristina Palabay, the widespread presence of soldiers in civilian communities offer no security for civilians. Instead, they are the primary purveyors of state terror and rights violations, and they also worsen the climate of impunity. This is the reason why people in communities detest the soldiers. They should pull out from the communities.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about the case.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people for their immediate intervention.
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SEND AN APPEAL LETTER

SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear ___________,
PHILIPPINES: Indigenous peasant leader killed while two indigenous communities forcibly displaced due to militarization

CASE 1:

Name of victims: Jose Unahan, 56, a member of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN) – Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Names of alleged perpetrators: unknown onboard a motorcycle

Date of incident: 6 June 2018

Place of incident: Sitio Tagbakon, Brgy. Culit, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte
CASE 2:

Number of victims: Some 160 members of the Dumagat tribe

Names of alleged perpetrators: 80th and 202nd Infantry Brigades of the Philippine Army (PA), 2nd Jungle Fighter Company, and the 2nd Infantry Division-PA

Date of incident: May 15-31, 2018

Place of incident: Sitio Dadiangao, Brgy. Umiray. General Nakar, Quezon Province

CASE 3:
Number of victims: 35 Higaonon families (or 158 individuals)

Names of alleged perpetrators: soldiers of the 58th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA)

Date of incident: 26 May 2018

Place of incident: Sitio Camansi, Brgy. Banglay, Lagonglong
I am writing to voice my grave concern regarding the killing of an indigenous peasant leader and the displacement of two indigenous communities due to militarization.
Firstly, on 6 June 2018, Higaonon peasant leader and anti-mining activist, 56-year-old Jose Unahan, a member of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN), a provincial formation of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) was shot dead in Sitio Tagbakon, Brgy. Culit, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. The perpetrator aboard a motorcycle immediately fled in an unknown direction. Jose was involved in his tribe’s defense of their ancestral land against large-scale mining and other extractive industries.
Secondly, from 15-31 May 2018, some 160 members of the Dumagat tribe were forcibly evacuated from their homes at Sitio Dadiangao, Brgy. Umiray. General Nakar, Quezon Province, due to military operations and encampment of the 80th and 202nd Infantry Brigades of the Philippines Army (PA), 2nd Jungle Fighter Company, and the 2nd Infantry Division-PA in Dumagat community. The military also imposed a food blockade, adding to the misery of the evacuees. The Dumagat evacuees have been temporarily staying at Sitio Campo, Pinamaypayan, Matinik, Mataping and Binabakos General Nakar, Quezon. They used mere tree branches to provide shade and canvas tent as make-shift roof.
Lastly, on 26 May 2018 in Misamis Oriental, around 35 Higaonon families (or 158 individuals) from Sitio Camansi, Brgy. Banglay, Lagonglong put up a makeshift evacuation center at the Cagayan de Oro City provincial capitol grounds. The residents were forced to evacuate when soldiers of the 58th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) occupied their homes. It was the community’s sixth forced evacuation since 2015.
The displaced communities were not given food by the local government.
On 6 June 2018, two men who identified themselves as officers from Cagayan de Oro City information office set up a movie screen near the evacuation makeshift camp showing military propaganda. The evacuees were intimidated by the loud music. The two men said they were acting based on orders of the provincial government. Military and police elements were also loitering around the said camp.

I urge you to ensure that these three incidents are properly investigated and to instruct the military to stop encampment and oppression to indigenous communities. Also, ensure the evacuees are given adequate protection promptly and afforded help from local government.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this.
Yours Sincerely,
……………….
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Rodrigo Duterte
President
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, 1005
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op-proper@gov.ph

2. Mr. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila, 1004
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: communications@doj.gov.ph

3. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com
Thank you.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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