KARAPATAN is an alliance of individuals, groups and organizations working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. Its founders and members have been at the forefront of the human rights struggle in the Philippines since the time of Marcos’ martial law regime.

KARAPATAN was founded by its member organizations in 1995 (when the former umbrella organization no longer satisfied the needs of its member organizations and of the people’s organizations it was supposed to serve). Set up to respond to the needs of its member organizations, KARAPATAN has very close linkages with them.

KARAPATAN firmly believes that...

  • Human rights should be respected in all ts dimensions – civil and political, economic, social and cultural.
  • Basic rights to life, humane treatment, and due process should be preserved at all times.
  • The people has the right to be free from all forms of oppression and exploitation.
  • A repressive state which serves the interests of a few oppressors and exploiters are the worse violator of human rights.
  • The struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and social emancipation provides the framework for human rights advocacy.
  • Human rights advocacy must be biased for the interest of the oppressed classes, sectors, and groups.
  • Human rights advocacy is integral to the struggle of the peasants for land, the workers for national industrialization and decent living and working conditions, the women against exploitation and discrimination, the indigenous peoples for self-determination, the poor for basic social services, and the youth for access to education and other venues for growth and development.

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 of people’s rights and civil liberties through:

Education and Training

Aims to raise the people’s awareness of their rights; help develop their capacity to fight for and defend their rights; and to enjoin them to participate in human rights campaign and advocacy activities. The program involves the development and
propagation of education modules and seminars.

Campaign and Advocacy

Seeks to develop a strong public opinion and support for human rights issues and concerns. It involves campaign and information dissemination activities. It also includes lobbying efforts for the defense and promotion of human rights.

Services Program

Mobilizes various resources for the welfare and legal needs of political prisoners, torture victims, relatives of the disappeared and victims of extrajudicial killings, displacement, and others. The formation of Quick Reaction Teams, which respond immediately to cases of human rights violations such as arrests, abductions, displacements, demolitions, picketline violence and others as well as the holding of Fact-Finding Missions to investigate and gather data on various human rights violations is an integral part of the program.

Documentation and Research

Gathers information on particular cases of human rights violations and on the general human rights situation in the country. Keeps a databank of all cases of human rights violations; as a library of files of these cases, including court documents and other evidences for filing to the various government agencies, the joint monitoring committee and international human
rights bodies. It sends urgent action alerts, and is vital in the coming out of the bi-annual analysis of the human rights situation and other related issues in the country.

Network Building and Alliance Work

Aims to motivate organizations, groups and individuals to get involved in human rights issues and in the activities and programs of KARAPATAN. It also establishes partnerships with genuine multi-sectoral alliances and people’s organizations. As an alliance, KARAPATAN works closely with its member organizations and brings together the programs of the various human rights organizations under it.