o: PAUL Supporters

Dear Friends,

Please see below the ICHRP protest letter at the recent murder of the 14 peasant leaders in Negros.

Today is the global day of protest called by ICHRP, but we held our action yesterday evening in Sydney, and images are available on the PAUL Facebook page. It was a 30-strong protest at the Philippine Consulate, marked by anger and energy at this terrible escalation of repression in the Philippines.

If your organisation can also compose a similar letter to the Foreign Minister and the Cc list, that would add to our efforts at this crucial time.

In solidarity

Peter Murphy

From: Peter Murphy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 April 2019 9:29 AM
To: ‘Foreign.Minister@dfat.gov.au’
Cc: ‘sgcentral@un.org’ ; ‘Biti, Robyn’ ; ‘senator.wong@aph.gov.au’ ; ‘Senator Richard Di Natale’ ; ‘peter.tucker@aph.gov.au’ ; ‘Julia Dean (dean@un.org)’ ; ‘chairgascon.chr@gmail.com’ ; ‘communications@doj.gov.ph’ ; ‘eje@ohchr.org’
Subject: Vehement condemnation of massacre of 14 peasant leaders in Negros Oriental, Philippines

April 10, 2019

The Hon Senator Marise Payne

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Foreign.Minister@dfat.gov.au

Vehement condemnation of massacre of 14 peasant leaders in Negros Oriental, Philippines

Dear Minister,

According to the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (NNAHRA), in the early hours of March 31, 2019, 14 peasant leaders in Canlaon City, Manjuyod, and Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, were shot dead by the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces and Regional Mobile Force, along with elements of the 94th Infantry Brigade Philippine Army.

Those killed at Canlaon City were three father-and-son combinations and two other farmers. One of them, Edgardo Avelino, was the chairman of HUKOM, a local chapter of the national peasant movement KMP. Twelve other farmers, including Nestor Kadusale, 58, also a local KMP leader, were illegally arrested.

Four killed in Manjuyod include two barangay captains: Valentin Acabal and Sonny Palagtiw. Two other farmers were in killed in Sta. Catalina town.

The combined police-army operation, called Oplan Sauron, first struck on December 27 last year, when six peasants were killed and fifty arrested at Guihulngan City and two nearby towns in northern Negros.

December 26 and March 29 were the 50th anniversaries of the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army respectively. Oplan Sauron is some kind of political retribution against unarmed civilians. Witnesses indicate several of the 14 were shot inside their homes while asleep.

“The appalling conduct of these ‘police operations’ obviously aims to make peasants, activists, and other ordinary citizens of Negros cower in fear, surrender their rights, and accept the wave of terror under de facto Martial Law,” said NNAHRA’s statement.

More than 60 peasants have been killed in Negros under President Duterte. His ‘war on drugs’ has killed over 25,000 civilians in less than three years.

Australia provides training to 150 Filipino military officers every year, and its own military operations in the Philippines cost over $40 million this financial year. Being the second largest provider of military aid to the Philippines after the USA (A$100 million), Australia shares political responsibility for these outrages, and must exert pressure to stop them.

We call on the Australian government to:

Publicly condemn the March 31, 2019, cold-blooded murder of the 14 peasant leaders at Canlaon City, Manjuyod, and Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, call for a full impartial investigation, and call for a pull-out of the Philippines army from peasant communities in Negros.
2. Publicly urge the Government of the Philippines to Immediately re-commence formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to expeditiously conclude the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms and advance the remainder of the agreed agenda.

Publicly call on the government of the Philippines to stop the red-tagging of members and leaders of progressive people’s organizations, to stop the threats, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders.
Publicly call on the Government of the Philippines to adhere to and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and all major Human Rights instruments to which it is a party and signatory.
Review Australia’s military aid to the Government of the Philippines because of the grave human rights abuses committed by its military.
Yours sincerely,

Peter Murphy

Chairperson, Global Council,

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

Cc: Cc Mr Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations; UN Special Rapporteur on EJK; DFAT Desk; Senator Penny Wong; Senator Richard Di Natale, Andrew Wilkie MHR; Julia Dean, Ret. Maj. Gen. Menardo Guevarra, Secretary, Department of Justice; Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights.