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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.