Karapatan to jointly lead nationwide rallies on Int’l Human Rights Day

Karapatan is set to join Bayan in nationwide rallies tomorrow, International Human Rights Day, to press for the release of all political prisoners, to call for an end to military occupation of schools and rural communities in the guise of civic action and denounce extrajudicial killings of activists and civilians, including killings in the Duterte government’s “war on drugs.” The rallies are also meant to sustain protest actions against the hero’s burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos and press the call for justice for and indemnification of martial law victims.  
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay called on President Rodrigo Duterte to address these glaring human rights issues. “Political prisoners must not be used as trump cards in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Their immediate release will only render partial justice considering political prisoners have suffered unjust arrest and detention, torture and other rights violations, including inhumane treatment in jail, because of their defense of people’s rights,” she said. 

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continues to sow terror in rural communities through bombings, indiscriminate firing, threats, harassment, encampment in homes and schools. The GRP'S purported unilateral ceasefire is being used by the AFP to suppress people’s struggles for land reform, against contractualization, and for decent jobs and living wages, and for democratic access to basic social services among the most urgent issues. The appointment of notorious human rights violator Gen. Eduardo Ano as AFP Chief of Staff, forebodes more human rights violations and sabotage of the GRP-NDFP peace talks,” Palabay said. 

“Dead bodies continue to pile up in Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. Urban poor communities are terrorized by indiscriminate police raids, wholesale accusations of drug involvement, and summary executions. To top it all, Duterte’s blanket justification of police actions including the rub-out by the CIDG of Albuera Mayor Espinosa clearly lends itself to encouragement of impunity for human rights violations and other abuses of State security forces,” said Palabay. 

Palabay added, "The war on drugs is now being used as a smokescreen to attack activists and progressives. Karapatan has documented the illegal arrests of farmers involved in a land dispute based on trumped-up charges of drug use. Soldiers also invoke the war against drugs in conducting 'census' and in interrogating community residents in rural areas."

“Gross violations of people’s democratic rights have continued despite the ouster of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship. Human rights activists are still subjected to harassment, including baseless criminal charges. The Duterte administration makes loose pronouncements regarding the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and proposes to revive the brutal Philippine Constabulary and the death penalty. More than ever, we call on the Filipino people to struggle against state fascism, as we denounce the unmistakable fascist tendencies of the Duterte administration,” explained Palabay. 

Protests in Metro Manila will be highlighted by an effigy depicting the political rehabilitation of  the Marcoses and continuing State fascism. At 4 to 6pm, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA), Karapatan and Bayan will hold a program at Liwasang Bonifacio. AT 6pm, a torch march will commence towards Mendiola bridge to bring the mass protest to Malacanang.  

Karapatan chapters in Ilocos, Cordillera, Isabela, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Palawan, Mindoro, Masbate, Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Negros Occidental, Western Samar, Ormoc City, Tacloban City, Cebu, Southern Mindanao, Socsksargends, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga will lead protest actions on the same day. The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) will lead protest actions in Canada, the US, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Hongkong. ###