Abduction survivor to speak at the UN in Geneva

Abduction survivor April Dyan Gumanao is set to speak at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva on Thursday, March 23, ahead of the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government’s UPR (Universal Periodic Review) adoption of recommendations made by the United Nations (UN) on human, social and economic rights in the Philippines.

Kidnapped by suspected State agents last January 10, 2023 as she and fiancé Armand Dayoha stepped off an inter-island ferry in Cebu, Gumanao is proof that human rights violations in the Philippines continue even under the Marcos Jr. government.

Gumanao will speak in a side event at the ongoing 52nd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations. (5 pm PH time)

She will be joined by Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers chairperson Edre Olalia and National Council of Churches of the Philippines program secretary on Faith, Witness and Service Mervin Toquero.

The event is sponsored by Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation, World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, FORUM-ASIA, International Service for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lawyers for Lawyers, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Philippine UPR Watch, Karapatan, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Gumanao will also deliver an oral statement during the adoption of the UPR outcomes on the Philippines.

The Philippine UPR Watch network decided to invite Gumanao to join their delegation to show UN officials and diplomats of member States that contrary to claims made by government representatives, human rights violations in the Philippines are unabated.

“Her case is fairly recent and falls directly under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s watch. The brazenness of the abduction and the fact that both victims are activists and development workers only point to the conclusion that State agents were behind it. We hope the world listens to what she says,” Palabay added.

The Philippines will again be at the center of discussions by the UN HRC, UN member States and international experts and observers as it announces which of the more than 200 recommendations made last November it would accept and reject. #