Joint statement by CIVICUS and Karapatan at the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue on Item 5: Report of the Secretary General 
45th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council 
Oral Intervention by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation 
Delivered by Roneo S. Clamor



Thank you, Madame President.

CIVICUS and its member organisation Karapatan welcome the Secretary General’s report and  recommendations on reprisals. It reflects the systemic patterns of reprisals which we see in the  Philippines against human rights defenders engaging with the UN.

Karapatan paralegal Zara Alvarez was killed last month. This year alone, human rights defenders Teresita  Naul and Alexander Philip Abinguna were arrested and are still detained, while Karapatan colleagues Jay  Apiag, Clarizza Singson, Julius Dagatan, Reylan Vergara, Petty Serrano, and myself, routinely receive  online and offline attacks on a daily basis, including judicial harassment. Our Secretary-General Christina  Palabay has suffered rape and death threats following advocacy at the Council, including to support the adoption of resolution 41/2 on the Philippines last year. The same patterns of reprisals are reported  against other NGOs as well. 

Karapatan was accused by the Philippines government of being a terrorist organization, prompting an  independent audit into longstanding funding from Belgium. The audit found no irregularities. But such  baseless allegations before the Council impedes our access to resources for human rights advocacy in  the Philippines and within UN institutions.  

The Philippines is a member of this Council. That reprisals continue unabated, without accountability,  has a direct impact on the worth of the UN as a whole. We urge the Council to address the Philippine  government’s patterns of reprisals against human rights defenders. We appeal to the Council to work  towards an independent investigation on the human rights situation in the Philippines.