CHRP UK Statement of Solidarity with Ten Human Rights Defenders from Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and Gabriela

We in Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines UK stand in solidarity with the ten human rights defenders from Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and Gabriela who have been issued warrants of arrests. National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr filed a case of perjury against them by stating that the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines was a registered non-governmental organisation at the Securities and Exchange Commission in a petition for writ of amparo (protection order) and habeas data (access to information). In truth, these perjury charges ought to be construed as retaliation against human rights defenders for seeking protection from harassment and vilification from Philippine courts.

It is alarming that human rights defenders who have chosen to use judicial institutional mechanisms for redress are being further victimized by the very institutions that ought to protect them. In the words of KARAPATAN Secretary General Cristina Palabay, “the judicial system itself is being abused as an instrument of our political persecution.” Palabay, who is currently in Geneva engaged in advocacy work with the UN Human Rights Council expect that she will be served a warrant of arrest upon her return to Manila. The other human rights defenders who have been issued warrants of arrest are KARAPATAN national officers Elisa Tita Lubina, Roneo Clamor, Gabriela Krista Dalena, Edita Burgos, Father Wilfredo Ruazol, and Jose Mari Callueng, RMP’s Sister Emma Cupin and Joan May Salvador, and Gertrudes Libang of Gabriela.

These arrests occur in an increasingly hostile climate for activists and human rights defenders under the Duterte administration. This is further corroboration that the current administration is stifling critical voices and criminalizing dissent. We in Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines stand with activists and human rights defenders and demand that the government drop these trumped up perjury charges and cease all intimidation, harassment, and red-tagging of individuals and organizations working within legally recognized channels of democratic dissent.

Dara Bascara
Secretary
Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP UK)

W: www.chrp.org.uk