Media Releases

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.

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TALL TALES ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION EXPECTED FROM PH GOV’T ON 4TH UPR

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 www.pinoyweekly.org 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.

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