December, 2019

“Who’s stopping visits to political prisoners this Christmas?” rights group laments

Rights group Hustisya lamented the reported disapproval of their requests for friends and supporters to visit political prisoners days before Christmas.

“We are disheartened that we were not able to hold our regular Paskuhan with the political prisoners. We cannot help but ask, who’s stopping spending simple Christmas gatherings with them?” said Evangeline Hernandez, Hustisya chairperson.

Conviction of Ampatuan massacre masterminds a long-deserved win for families of victims – Karapatan

Human rights group Karapatan welcomed on Thursday, December 19, the conviction of 28 suspects, including Datu Andal Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan, in the infamous Ampatuan massacre that brutally claimed the lives of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists who were supposed to cover the filing of the certificate of candidacy of then gubernatorial bet Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.
“We welcome the court’s decision to convict Datu Andal "Unsay" Ampatuan Jr.

Australian missionary Sr. Patricia Fox expresses solidarity with 80-year-old nun Elenita Belardo

Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS, the Australian missionary deported by the Bureau of Immigration last November 2018, expressed solidarity with Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS, an 80-year-old nun facing a trumped-up perjury case filed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. 
Sr. Patricia Fox immersed herself in missionary work in the Philippines for 27 years, but was targeted by the Duterte government for her active involvement in issues of human rights.

On the 71st Int'l Human Rights Day, Karapatan secretary general receives revolting texts, death threats anew

On the evening of December 10, after protests that commemorated the International Human Rights Day, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay received a call and a series of texts from an unknown number.

Karapatan cites urgency of the human rights crisis in the country, presses for probe and accountability during 2019 IHRD

"There is a human rights crisis in the country. Regardless of the denials and legal acrobatics by the Duterte government, it has made its mark as a murderous regime that disregards people’s rights. This government's record is besmirched with blood, with thousands killed in the sham drug war and counterinsurgency program, thousands displaced by bombings and militarization, hundreds arbitrarily detained and filed with trumped-up charges, and thousands more harassed, red-tagged, and threatened for their activism.

Ecumenical network gives first wave of submissions for UN High Commissioner’s report on rights situation in PH

On the eve of International Human Rights Day, December 9, 2019, the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice), a network of faith-based and human rights organizations, submitted its first wave of reports on the human rights situation in the Philippines to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, in line with the Resolution 41/2 adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in July. 

‘Halimaw sa cauldron’: Karapatan gives preview of effigy for 2019 Int’l Human Rights Day

A day before the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on Tuesday, December 10, human rights group Karapatan presented a preview of the effigy that will be used for mass actions at the Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola in Manila.

Karapatan expresses support for the resumption of peace negotiations, calls for the release of political prisoners

"Karapatan expresses its support for the possible resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). We support earnest endeavors at attaining peace and resolving the roots of the armed conflict.

Lifting martial law in Mindanao is no justification for proposed amendments to the anti-terror law - Karapatan

"A new narrative is peddled by top militarists in Duterte's Cabinet. They are now supporting the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, but there's a catch -- it ought to facilitate the passing of the amendments to the anti-terror law or Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007. Having benefited from it after two years, the government is now using the lifting of martial law as a bait to pass a nationwide policy that will practically place the entire country under de facto martial law.

Karapatan questions continued illegal detention of Panday Sining activists, lambasts Año for inciting attacks against the youth

"Suddenly, with avid attention and desperation from government officials, it seems that vandalism has become the worst crime in the world. So unforgivable that the youth who write scribbles of protests and criticisms through this form are criminalized akin to those who have committed heinous crimes.

Reprisal perjury charge against Karapatan and Gabriela dismissed, but QC court continued to lodge said case vs. 80-year old nun

"National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. is behind this political persecution against rights groups. Knowing he has no case against Karapatan, Gabriela, and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), he has instead settled with targeting a single individual -- 80 year-old Sister Elenita Belardo. We are with Sr. Elen throughout this result, and will continue to strongly assert that this trumped-up case is a form of reprisal against RMP's advocacy. Sr.

Karapatan: Close to 400 political prisoners arrested under the Duterte regime

Today, December 6, human rights group Karapatan and Kapatid, along with other people’s organizations, trooped to the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City to call for the release of all political prisoners.

As Duterte appoints Justice Mario Lopez, Karapatan wary over declining judicial independence, weaponization of law

As President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Mario Lopez to the Supreme Court (SC), human rights group Karapatan expresses its deep concern over the declining independence of the judiciary that might equate to greater complicity over attacks against government critics and human rights activists.

Political prisoners face forced dispersal as Whole of Nation approach implemented in jails – Karapatan

Karapatan raised objections against an ongoing scheme by the Department of National Defense, through the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (BJMP) officials, to disperse political prisoners and transfer them to different detention facilities outside of Metro Manila. Calling the plan “surreptitious and detrimental to the long-term health and well-being of political prisoners,” Karapatan said this is part of the military’s whole-of-nation approach (WONA) in jails.

Karapatan denounces PNP awards for cops involved in arbitrary arrests, raids in Negros

Human rights group Karapatan denounced the Philippine National Police for conferring medals of merit on the 10 cops who simultaneously implemented search warrants that led to the arrest of 57 individuals, including 13 minors in Negros Occidental. Of the 57 arbitrarily arrested on simultaneous operations in Negros last October 31, 2019, seven activists were slapped with trumped-up nonbailable charges and have remained incarcerated.

Rights groups put up symbolic memorial for victims of extrajudicial killings, renew calls for justice

Human rights groups Hustisya and Rise Up for Life and for Rights, along with several other advocacy groups and families of victims of extrajudicial killings, held a gathering for justice on Sunday, December 1, 2019 at the Ecumenical Center of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines in Quezon City. The gathering is among the opening activities for the December 10 International Human Rights Day coordinated protests.