Press Statement | June 25, 2018

For reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 09173162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 09189790580

Remove PH at the UN Human Rights Council, initiate commission on inquiry on PH – Karapatan

In the light of the recent joint statement of 38 states led by Iceland at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Karapatan reissued its call for the removal of the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council and for the human rights body to initiate an international fact-finding mission and commission on inquiry on the Philippines.

“With the Duterte administration’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge its accountability on the numerous killings as a result of its war on drugs and its attacks on human rights defenders and civilians as a consequence of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao, international actions such as the removal of the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council and the initiation of a UN international fact-finding mission and commission on inquiry are in order,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General.

“The Philippine government responds to domestic and international criticism on its human rights violations with thuggish hubris, blatant denial of its crimes and utmost disregard of international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law. It is ironic, if not laughable, that the Philippine government even holds the vice presidency of the Human Rights Council’s Bureau,” Karapatan added.

Karapatan also stated the said calls in the light of the worsening trends on human rights and people’s rights violations under Duterte.

“The Philippine National Police’s illegal and arbitrary arrests and detention of so-called “tambays” or idlers have infringed on the people’s right to due process and mobility. As if the war on drugs is not enough, now persons who are merely walking around for any purpose or those who are driven to the streets because of poverty are being arrested and detained, while one of them ended up dead,” Palabay said referring to the case of 21-year old Genesis Argoncillo, who was arrested by the police after heeding Pres. Duterte’s directives against tambays. After four days, Argoncillo’s family found his lifeless body in a morgue, allegedly bearing marks of beating.

In the past two weeks, Karapatan also documented the killing of three peasant leaders and the illegal arrest of at least seven individuals, including volunteer teachers of a Lumad school and a peasant activist, in Mindanao. “With martial law in full swing in Mindanao, residents from several communities have forcibly evacuated due to military operations and encampment in their villages. Fake surrenders were staged by the military, while they continue to terrorize residents whom they tag as NPA supporters,” Palabay stated.

Karapatan also sounded the alarm on the proposed amendments on the anti-terror bill, which is currently being discussed at committee hearings at the House of Representatives. “These amendments to the already questionable HSA will enable the wholesale disregard of human and people’s rights enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and is severely inconsistent with international human rights standards including the right to due process, right to privacy, against unlimited detention of suspects, rights to free speech and expression, right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, right to freedom of association, the right of human rights defenders to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, right to mobility, against torture, unjust and cruel punishments.”

Palabay said “these moves at the House of the Representatives and the still-persistent efforts at the Senate to reimpose the death penalty are Duterte’s schemes to legislate fascism and impunity.”

“We call on the international community to continue its support for the Filipino people’s calls and campaigns against the tyrannical rule of Duterte. Such forms of international solidarity are most needed by the growing number of victims of this murderous regime,” 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.