November, 2022

Statement on the 159th birth anniversary of Filipino people’s hero Andres Bonifacio

This year’s commemoration of the 159th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio Day should be taken as an opportunity to re-learn and live out our people’s history --- that the struggle for national independence and against all forms of oppression by foreign powers and the local ruling classes is a struggle for human rights and dignity of the Filipino people.

Bonifacio pushed for national unity, the genuine unity which forged together the strength of the Filipino masses, through the formation of the Katipunan. It was the kind of unity that sought to assert national freedom and independence, and for Filipinos to benefit from all their toil and hardships.

Tanggol Bayi and Karapatan Statement on International Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day

Today, on International Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day, Tanggol Bayi and Karapatan salute all women who have tirelessly worked and contributed to the continuing struggle for women’s rights, human rights and freedoms.

In the Philippines and all over the world, the recent years are the most challenging for women human rights defenders. Attacks and threats including discriminatory acts and gender violence used to attempt to muzzle and silence the voices of women human rights defenders have grown more brazen and systematic. Upholding the rights of women and the people is easily branded as a crime or as an act of terrorism. Lives and liberty were taken away from the many courageous women human rights defenders.

Int’l community prods PH gov’t to enact Human Rights Defenders’ Protection legislation

In a hearing of the Committee on Human Rights of the House of Representatives today, November 29, 2022, Karapatan cited the strong recommendations of various member States of the UN General Assembly for the enactment of a legislation for the protection of human rights defenders and on the attacks against activists in the Philippines, during the recent Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in November.

Forty States called for justice and the protection and promotion of the rights of human rights defenders and journalists in the Philippines, in the 4th cycle of the UPR of the Philippines recently, with the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Finland, Romania, Switzerland, and Mexico recommending the enactment of a Human Rights Defenders’ Protection legislation.

Karapatan lambasts PNP claims on ‘working justice system’

Human rights alliance Karapatan took strong exception to claims by the Philippine National Police that the recent conviction of a Caloocan City policeman for torture and planting of evidence in relation a five-year old drug war-related killing forms proof that “the Philippine justice system is working.” The murder cases filed against the policeman, PO1 Jeffrey Perez, for the August 2017 killing of 19-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz and 14-year old Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman are still pending in court.

“The only thing this recent conviction proves,” said Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay, “is that there were human rights violations during the drug war. This should not be used by authorities to make what is obviously a false statement—that the Philippine justice system is working.”

Karapatan reiterates call for reallocation of confidential, intelligence funds for social services, aid to poor families

Human rights alliance Karapatan assailed the billions of pesos of “confidential and intelligence funds” (CIF) being allocated to a number of government agencies even as much-needed social services and projects lack funding and the country is reeling from a gargantuan national debt of PhP10.13 trillion.

The group renewed its call to reallocate such funds to public health needs, education, housing, food and cash aid, and other social services, amid discussions at the Senate on the P650-million CIF allotted to Vice President Sara Duterte— PhP500 million to the Office of the Vice President and another PhP150 million to the Department of Education which she heads.

Stop the killings and attacks against journalists!

Thirteen years since 58 persons, including 32 media workers were mercilessly killed in Maguindanao, the need to commemorate the single biggest attack against journalists in Philippine history is more urgent than ever.

Recent history gives us ample proof that threats and attacks against journalists and the right to free speech have not abated, and have instead taken newer and more menacing forms.

Since the Ampatuan Massacre of 2009, forty-nine more journalists have been killed —23 under the Duterte regime which was openly hostile to the media, and three under the Marcos II regime.

Karapatan to Remulla-PH gov’t should issue standing invitations to UN SR on EJKs, others to investigate killings and all rights

Human rights alliance Karapatan said that the Philippine government should issue standing invitations for all UN Special Procedures, especially the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples, independence of lawyers and judges, and right to health, to conduct official investigations on reports of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in the country.

“While the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings is most welcome to provide support for capacity building activities on human rights, the most pressing need for an official visit by the mandate comes from the continuing reports of extrajudicial killings in the country and the dire lack of justice related to the drug war and counterinsurgency programs, as well as to the killings of journalists, lawyers and those in the legal profession. The Philippine government should heed the call of UN member states to issue standing invitations to all UN Special Procedures,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Kamala Harris visit to further drive US complicity in rights violations in PH - Karapatan

Human rights alliance Karapatan slammed the upcoming visit to the Philippines of US Vice President Kamala Harris, saying that it will further drive the US government’s complicity in the worsening violations of human rights in the country.

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that foremost on Harris’ agenda is further strengthening security arrangements under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which allows the US to preposition more troops, weapons and logistics in Philippine military facilities that function as quasi-bases for the US.

Gov’t fails to convince int’l community of improved human rights situation in PH

Geneva, Switzerland - The government tried but miserably failed in convincing the international community that the human rights situation in the Philippines has vastly improved. At the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) fourth cycle of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in this city Monday, many countries expressed concerns about ongoing human rights violations in the country and the Philippine government’s inadequate responses to recommendations made in the last cycle in 2017.

Governments from at least 35 countries called on the Philippines to put a stop on extrajudicial killings and exact accountability on the perpetrators, particularly state security forces, while 38 countries called on the Philippines to protect human rights and indigenous defenders, lawyers and judges, environmentalists, and journalists. This clearly indicates that the world knows the real situation despite lies, empty rhetoric and distortion of facts by the Philippine government delegation.

The Philippine government delegation brought nothing but empty words and vague promises to the review. Its presentation did not reflect realities on the ground.



There is nothing new with the Philippine government’s report on the human rights situation in the Philippines, when it is subjected to the 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council.

We expect the tall tales and big words – “transformational reform,” “real justice in real time” – which are empty rhetoric. The same words were used during diplomatic briefings, statements, and reports to the UN Human Rights Committee.

But facts, experiences and implementation of policies on the ground reveal the realities.

Media groups submit complaints to UN experts before PH human rights review

GENEVA, Switzerland - Media and academic groups submitted complaints to the office of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor several days before the United Nations Human Rights Council conducts its universal periodic review on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Pinoy Media Center (PMC), publisher of Pinoy Weekly, reported that then National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon has ordered the blocking of their website and 27 other organizations, which is still inaccessible to the public.

In its letter to Lawlor, the independent media outfit also stated that its website have also been subject to continuous cyber-attacks since 2018. The website had also been hacked between November 17 and 18, 2021, the PMC said.

UN expert: PH ignoring human rights recommendations by other governments

A United Nations (UN) expert criticized the Philippine government on its failure to abide by recommendations made by other countries on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

In a forum at the UN in Geneva last Thursday, November 10, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor said she finds it “quite unsettling” that the Philippine government has ignored the 11 recommendations made when the country was last reviewed in May 2017.

“When I compare them to the 24 communications that were sent by the mandate to the government over the same period (2017-2022), I can see little has been done to take the recommendations on board,” Lawlor said.

Senator dela Rosa wants to live in a cave

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The United Nations Human Rights Committee is not interfering in our country’s sovereignty in issuing its recommendations on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

The Philippines is a signatory to and has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as its Optional Protocols 1 and 2. It actively participated in the review regarding its compliance to the ICCPR by submitting a national report, belated as it is, a reply to list of issues and through a high-level mission led by no less than Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla last October. In fact, Sec. Remulla is again set to arrive here on Monday, November 14, to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council universal periodic review on the human rights situation in the Philippines. The Philippine government cannot have its cake and throw it too.

Zubiri is insensitive to human rights violations victims

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s attempt to feign ignorance on the continuing human rights violations and the utter lack of justice and accountability in the Philippines reeks of insensitivity and brazen disregard of the sordid plight of thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations and their kin.

Senator Zubiri was way out of tune in his response to media questions about damning international observations on the human rights situation in the Philippines. If the issue of extrajudicial killings is to be regarded as “lumang tugtugin” at all, it is because the killings have been going on for so long.

On the UN Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations on the Philippines

Karapatan welcomes the concluding observations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the Philippines, including its significant views on red-tagging, the Anti-Terrorism Act, extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on drugs, among other pressing issues on human rights in the Philippines.

The Committee’s recommendations to put an end to extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders and users, and to discontinue any attempts to reintroduce the death penalty, despite the platitudes by the Philippine government, should further bolster efforts for possible independent investigation at the UN Human Rights Council and at the International Criminal Court.

No let-up on the quest for justice

In October 2022, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla led the government delegation during the fifth periodic review of the Philippines by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland.

The result was just as expected. On November 4, the UN Human Rights Committee released its concluding observations, calling out the Philippine government on its woeful human rights record. No amount of whitewashing and platitudes can convince the world it is doing enough.

Kin of "desaparecidos" echo call for justice, lambasts gov't "apathy"

Families and friends of desaparecidos, or victims of enforced disappearance under the group Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) decried the "state's apparent disregard for accountability and justice" as they remember the memories of their loved ones on All Souls Day.

"We commemorate the memories and the bravery of our friends and family members who were forcibly taken from us, despite not having any graves to offer candles and flowers, nor any idea about their whereabouts. We also honor and remember the deceased relatives of desaparecidos who tirelessly demanded for justice and sought answers about their loved ones," said Erlinda Cadapan, Desaparecidos national chairperson.

Apayao governor’s recent order encourages commission of extrajudicial killing, other rights violations

Human rights group Karapatan slammed Apayao Provincial Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. for issuing “an official order that may potentially be used to drive and encourage the commission of extrajudicial killings.”

In an executive order dated September 30, 2022 Bulut offered reward money of P100,000 for anyone who “captures, arrests or kills in a legitimate military operation a member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).” The governor upped the bounty to P1,000,000 if the person arrested, captured or killed is a “high-ranking CTG personality.”

This is a kill order, said Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay. “It gives the go-signal for anyone to arbitrarily attack and kill political activists who have been repeatedly threatened and red-tagged, and be paid handsomely for it.”